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Political philosophy and community justice

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Title:
Political philosophy and community justice a critical intersection examined to aid in the reduction of recidivism
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Waggoner, Philip D. ( author )
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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1 electronic file (85 pages). : ;

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Restorative justice ( lcsh )
Political science -- Philosophy ( lcsh )
Recidivism ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Political philosophy and criminal justice are fields which seemingly rarely mix. While criminal justice is largely focused on the nation of practical, empirical enforcement methods or creating a safer society at large, political philosophy typically remains in the lofty realm of abstract thinking, virtually inaccessible to the lives of individual citizens. However, a thorough examination of political philosophical thought reveals multiple and strong strands of criminal justice theory. Even strong hint so the relatively new notion of community justice can be interwoven through the entire tapestry of the political philosophical tradition, from Aristotle s Nicomachem Ethics to John Rawls s A Theory of Justice. Why would such a relationship among traditionally disparate disciplines be worth discovering and developing? This paper address that question by demonstrating that in order for communities across the world to accept and view the new notion of community justice as relevant, a framework that is historically rich and practically cogent, as well as academically sound, must be established in order to legitimize this new trajectory of executing justice in society. Thus, in order to reduce and prevent crime, diminish recidivism and create overall safer communities, a political philosophical approach to community justice must be pursued.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Colorado Denver. Public administration
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Includes bibliographic references.
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system requirements: Adobe Reader.
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School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Philip D. Waggoner.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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892642629 ( OCLC )
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Full Text
POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE:
A CRITICAL INTERSECTION EXAMINED TO
AID IN THE REDUCTION OF RECIDIVISM
by
PHILIP D. WAGGONER
B.A., Colorado State University, 2011
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Public Administration
School of Public Affairs
2013


2013
PHILIP D. WAGGONER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


This thesis for the Master of Public Administration degree by
Philip D. Waggoner
has been approved for the
Master of Public Administration Program
by
Paul Teske, Chair
Callie Rennison
Susan Opp
October 24, 2013


Waggoner, Philip (MPA, Master of Public Administration)
Political Philosophy and Community Justice: A Critical Intersection Examined to Aid in
the Reduction of Recidivism
Thesis directed by Distinguished Professor Paul Teske
ABSTRACT
Political philosophy and criminal justice are fields which seemingly rarely mix.
While criminal justice is largely focused on the notion of practical, empirical
enforcement methods for creating a safer society at large, political philosophy typically
remains in the lofty realm of abstract thinking, virtually inaccessible to the lives of
individual citizens. However, a thorough examination of political philosophical thought
reveals multiple and strong strands of criminal justice theory. Even strong hints of the
relatively new notion of community justice can be found interwoven throughout the
entire tapestry of the political philosophical tradition, from Aristotles Nicomachean
Ethics to John Rawlss A Theory of Justice. Why would such a relationship among
traditionally disparate disciplines be worth discovering and developing? This paper
addresses that question by demonstrating that in order for communities across the world
to accept and view the new notion of community justice as relevant, a framework that is
historically rich and practically cogent, as well as academically sound, must be
established in order to legitimize this new trajectory of executing justice in society. Thus,
in order to reduce and prevent crime, diminish recidivism and create overall safer
communities, a political philosophical approach to community justice must be pursued.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Paul Teske
m


DEDICATION
I dedicate this work to my bride, Becky.
IV


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I would like to thank my outstanding committee for their guidance and expertise
in revising, editing, advising on and approval of my thesis as the final step in the Master
of Public Administration degree program. I would also like to thank the School of Public
Affairs and the Graduate School at the University of Colorado, Denver. Additionally, I
would like to thank Sean McCandless for his excellent revision and edits of my thesis.
And finally, I would like to thank my wife, Becky, for her tireless love, support and
encouragement throughout the process.
v


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION......................................................1
What is Community Justice?........................................3
Why is Community Justice Worth Pursuing?..........................6
II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..........................................9
Disparate Realms of Literature Explored..........................11
Political Philosophy.............................................12
Community interaction.......................................12
Punishments.................................................15
Equitable & accessible justice system.......................18
Justice: Therapeutic Jurisprudence & Restorative Justice.........21
Definitions, similarities & differences.....................23
Community courts............................................25
Case study: The ERCC project................................27
Current state of literature & next steps....................29
III. METHODOLOGY.....................................................31
Information Utilized.............................................31
Methodology......................................................32
Procedure & theory..........................................34
Process.....................................................36
Limitations & Assumptions........................................36
IV. EMPIRICAL APPLICATION AND ANALYSIS...............................39
vi


East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC)
40
Data overview....................................................41
Analysis.........................................................43
Application......................................................44
Comparison: Other Community Court Projects............................44
Midtown..........................................................45
Milliken.........................................................46
San Francisco....................................................48
Liverpool........................................................49
The Effectiveness of Community Court in Light of Political Philosophy.49
V. A SAMPLE POLICY MEMORANDUM............................................52
Executive Summary.....................................................52
The Current Reality...................................................53
Criteria..............................................................54
Alternatives..........................................................55
Projected Outcomes & Tradeoffs........................................57
Recommendation & Discussion...........................................58
Memo Appendix 1: Implementation Strategy..............................61
Memo Appendix 2: Evaluation Strategy..................................64
VI. CONCLUSION...........................................................66
Community Court is Effective at Reducing Recidivism...................66
An Intersection Worth Examining: Political Philosophy and Criminal Justice..67
Cooperation and the Future of Sustainable Judicial Reform.............68
vii


REFERENCES


LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
4.1- Intake Numbers of the ERCC Project..................................42
4.2 Milliken: Projected Outcome vs. Empirical Outcome..................47
5.1 Implementation Strategy............................................63
IX


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
From Aristotle to Epicurus to Thomas Hobbes to John Rawls, political
philosophers have challenged, inspired, and have often acted as interdisciplinary unifying
agents between theory and practice. The early Greek philosophers began an enterprise
that often focused on attempting to better understand humanity and the implications of
actions on virtue, ethics and utility (Durant, 1991). Political philosophers have created,
examined and expounded upon a multiplicity of abstract concepts. Yet, the core of their
investigations has been to understand the meta-implications of human action on political
behavior, social construction, mobility, and even tenets of how best to live (Duignan,
2011a). Specifically, for instance, such abstract concepts include Michel Foucaults
examination of madness and the definition of insanity as exemplified in and through
society or Martin Heideggers theory of the essence of true existence in a world of weak,
traditional ontology (Foucault, 1988; Heidegger, Macquarrie, & Robinson, 1962).
Inversely, criminal justice theory has traditionally honed in on problems of safety within
the law. There is a central difference between criminal justice and political theory. This
difference lies in the application of theory. Criminal justice theory includes the widely
accepted four forms of justice: procedural, distributive, corrective, and retributive
(Posner, 1990, pp. 313-352). Inversely, political theory and philosophy delve into to the
theoretical and historical underpinnings of why people act the way they do and what are
the implications on political and social stability (Hampton, 1997). Thus, given criminal
justice theorys practical foci and political philosophys more abstract foci, these two
disciplines, outwardly, do not interact frequently. However, narrowing the scope in this
1


thesis from the broad discipline of political philosophy to specific works referencing and
oriented around theories of justice and social cohesion, a new nuance of justice appears
that is subtle, yet pervasive. Specific political philosophical traditions, especially those
with implicit and explicit threads of criminal justice theory provide assistance in the
justifications of this new, subtle form of justice: community justice.
Community justice is premised on respect, responsibility, and cohesion through
problem solving.1 Having been implemented and evaluated in select communities across
the world, community justice is just beginning to sprout as a form of justice aimed at
addressing crime at a low level2 in order to create more responsive citizens and safer
communities.
Philosophy informs society as the basis of law and policy. It is law and policy,
which directly affect each person in society. In light of the inexorability of policy and the
subsequent effect on the lives of community members by creating values through
deliberation, connectedness and investment in the community, philosophy therefore plays
an integral role throughout society (Fishkin, 2009; Gutmann & Thompson, 2004). Thus,
establishing that there is an undercurrent of community justice-related ideas within the
field of political philosophy is helpful and worth pursuing. This is the case because this
interdisciplinary relationship could provide a solid foundation to establish the
philosophical legitimacy of the concept of community justice as an innovative form of
1 For the purposes of this research, community courts are different than traditional problem-solving courts.
While both courts take a similar approach to adjudication and sentencing methods, problem solving courts
tend to be more issue specific (e.g. drag courts, domestic violence courts, etc.) while community courts
deal with a wide range of offenses in a multiplicity of realms.
2 Low-level crime tends to be ambiguous given the jurisdictional differences between municipalities and
local court systems across the world. Low-level in New York looks drastically different than low-level
crime in Milliken, Colorado. Thus for example, low-level crimes include, but are not limited to truancy,
minor in possession, or even prostitution and select drag felonies in some jurisdictions (Center for Court
Innovation, 2009; Milliken, 2011).
2


justice worth deploying. Also, this relationship provides a framework for crafting new
and successful approaches to reduce recidivism, secure public safety, and create a safer
environment one community at a time.
The remainder of this chapter will introduce and operationalize community justice
as an alternative to the traditional form of adjudication and then introduce and address the
question pertaining to the relevance of the topic of this thesis in examining the
intersection of political philosophy and community justice.
What is Community Justice?
The first community court began in 1993 as the Midtown Community Court in
New York City. The court was formed to address low level crimes in order to catch and
stop crime at an early stage. This would, in theory, make communities safer in
subsequent years (Center for Court Innovation, 2009). Beyond reducing crime, another
goal of the first and future community courts was and is to provide restitution to the
community in order to repair the harm done as a result of the offense and also to create an
increased sense of citizenship and investment. This ideally reduces the likelihood of
recidivists committing similar or other crimes in their community. This will be discussed
in great depth in ensuing sections.
Before proceeding further, establishing an operational definition of community
justice and more specifically community courts is an appropriate starting point from
which to launch into its judicial and administrative execution. Community justice3
includes all parties who are stakeholders in the citation and prosecution of minor criminal
3 Community Justice: Made up of Community Court and Community Policing. This thesis will focus on
community court primarily. This conceptual definition has been adapted from the Town of Millikens
Community Court Policies and Procedures Manual.
3


cases, including the defendant, police officers, prosecutors, case managers, and judge
(Center for Court Innovation, n.d.; Milliken, 2011). The community court process
specifically allows for meaningful involvement4 by the defendant. Meaningful
involvement in determining the terms of the deferred sentence or deferred prosecution
agreement allows for the existence and perpetuation of an atmosphere in which respect is
nurtured. Additionally, there is a focus on reasons why the defendant has committed the
crime and what steps can be taken to prevent it from reoccurring. As a result, if the
defendant successfully completes all terms outlined in the mutually-acceptable
agreement, the offense is dropped from the defendants record, thus allowing him or her
to have no formal criminal record for the offense that led to his or her entry into the
criminal justice system (Milliken, 2011).
Essentially there are two key differences between a traditional court and a
community court. These differences concern the judicial process and the goals of the
court. Traditional court offers general, blanket sentencing options as well as diversion
programs outsourced to a prosecutor or district attorney for minor offenses. However,
community court offers tailored, defendant-focused sentencing options, with the judge
presiding over and engaged in all aspects of the proceedings. Similarly, traditional court
proceedings are quicker and often focused on docket-clearing whereby the prosecutor or
District Attorney is the central actor through what I reference as, reactionary
jurisprudence reactionem iurisprudentia. Contradistinctively, community court allows
for meaningful interaction and communication amongst all stakeholders in the crime, in
4 Meaningful Involvement: Addresses the active involvement by the defendant in the crafting of the
sentencing terms, the defendants time in the community justice system and the role the rehabilitated
defendant plays in the community upon successful completion of his/her community justice sentence
4


an effort to address the reasons behind the crime, prevent recidivism, focus on the
damage caused to the community, and the form the restoration process will take. This
process I have dubbed, preventive jurisprudence praecaventur iurisprudentia.
While the practice of diversion is a common one in addressing juvenile and low-
level crime in traditional courts, the difference between diversion achieved through the
court and diversion achieved outside of the court, is central to the community court
process. Diversion for qualified, low-level crime cases adjudicated in a traditional court
happens outside of the court. Diversion for qualified, low-level crime cases in community
court is achieved through the court, utilizing the court as the most ideal resource to
increase participant accountability from both the court as well as the defendant. As seen
in community court, in-court diversion allows for the court to be able to act and/or react
swiftly for reinforcers and sanctions (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Center for Court
Innovation, n.d.; Nolan, 2003). The fact that traditional court offers diversion options to
qualified cases is a strong step in the right direction from a community justice
perspective, given that the background and external factors pertaining to the defendant
and the crime committed are taken into account when crafting the diversion sentencing-
plan. This allows for the underlying motivation, rather than the mere instance to be
addressed in order to increase the likelihood of avoiding future crimes of the same or
greater magnitude. However, the difference of where diversion takes place and how it is
monitored is the additional, crucial step taken by community court. Pursuing diversion
programs through the court not only increases accountability and efficiency (as
previously referenced) but also firmly roots the court in the central idea of community
and interconnectivity amongst not only the stakeholders, but all community members.
5


Traversing the adjudication process as a unit is vital to community court and its ultimate
success and effectiveness.
Why Is Community Justice Worth Pursuing?
The justice system holds enormous power. Whether in traditional justice, court, or
even mandatory minimums, justice in society was intended by philosophers, law-makers
and adjudicators to be the great equalizer as seen in the writings of Aristotle, John Locke,
and John Rawls (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1943; Locke, 1690/2004, Rawls, 1971). Therefore,
with this power comes great responsibility: through both implicit and explicit means,
court sentencing affects not only the life of the offender but also the entire community.
Given this power and responsibility therein, Thomas Hobbes is a useful voice in this
discussion in light of his notion of supreme power. Hobbes argued that the supreme
power (e.g., court, the executive) holds significant influence. Extrapolating from this
point, Hobbess supreme power in this case is the court. The influential power of the
court is in the ability to levy a sentence often based on the recommendation of the
prosecutor (Hobbes, 1651/1994). This power lies in a judges authority to define the
severity of a crime based upon the severity of the crime committed. For example, if the
offense is prostitution, there can be a blanket sentence option given to most cases of
prostitution. Precedent arising out of rulings in previous prostitution cases establishes this
sentence option. However, a court could levy this option without regard for personal
background, number of appearances before the court, or socioeconomic status, thereby
addressing the instance of prostitution. In this example, the implication supported by
Hobbess supreme power, is that the court is thusly declaring the crime of prostitution
to be serious only insofar as it requires a general sentence to address this instance, rather
6


than the underlying problems leading to the instance (Hobbes, 1651/1994). In this
example, the focus of the court is on the instance of prostitution rather than on coupling
the factors contributing to the defendants choice to commit the crime. The sentencing,
therefore, is a temporary solution, rather than a holistic approach based on underlying
factors in an effort to prevent future occurrences of the crime. And it is this temporary
solution that acts as a social construction, which reinforces the defendants place in
society as a criminal, thereby encouraging that pattern of behavior and ultimately
resulting in a life of crime (Schneider & Ingram, 1997).
Community justice broadly, and community court specifically addresses that
issue, which is rampant injustice systems throughout the world today. Problems of
prostitution and other low-level crimes are not the only social problems community
justice is successful at addressing. The problem of blanket sentencing that does not fit the
crime, such as in the previous prostitution example, is also addressed by community
justice, in an effort to prevent not only crime, but recidivism as well to create safer
communities.
But this concept of community justice is new, and very little is available regarding
empirical proof of its perceived, theoretical effectiveness. As such, caution should be
exercised when pursuing broad implementation of community justice. An example of
hasty wide-spread reaction to a perceived yet untested criminal justice program is the
infamous Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment (MDVE). Based on a seemingly
positive result of a report on arrests and non-arrests of domestic violence offenders in
Minneapolis, the MDVE found that giving officers the latitude to make an arrest without
warrant if a perceived domestic violence offense had occurred would drastically reduce
7


domestic violence crimes across the board (Buzawa & Buzawa, 1990). As a result of the
positive veneer of this report from the Police Foundation, many states implemented the
change in police practices (Sherman & Berk, 1984). However, without regard for
regional differences in crime trends, types of offenders and the flawed nature of the
shortened study time period which likely skewed the results, the MDVE proved to be
much less effective for several states that implemented it (Fagan, 1989). This is an apt
example of hastily implementing a program lacking substantive, consistent empirical
support. Therefore, applying this principle to community courts and their perceived
fecundity aside, communities must proceed with caution when pursuing implementation.
Also as learned from the MDVE, communities must take an individualized approach to
the implementation of community court by crafting a model that most ideally suits the
needs, demographics and other regional differences in order to address crime on a local
level effectively.
Therefore, this thesis addresses the following questions pertaining to
interconnectivity and relevance between the two disciplines of political philosophy and
criminal justice: Is it relevant to examine the intersection of these two disciplines? Why
would such a relationship between traditionally disparate forms of disciplines be worth
discovering and developing? Is community court effective at reducing recidivism? What
are the implications for the criminal justice field?
Chapter two focuses on the review of literature in several realms including two
key legal theories supporting community justice known as restorative justice and
therapeutic jurisprudence. Also, political philosophy is expounded upon as a justification
for community justice playing a key role in its legitimization. Chapter three discusses the
8


methodology represented in this thesis honing in on the primary use of an empirical case
study on the East of the River Community Court (ERCC) project in Washington D.C.
Chapter four unpacks the previously introduced ERCC case study with analysis and
application. Building upon the success of community justice as established and analyzed
in the previous chapters, chapter five advocates for the expansion of community court to
a nationalized institution in the form of a sample policy memo to President Obama. In
this chapter, implementation and evaluation of a national community court system is
introduced and discussed in depth. Finally, chapter six concludes the thesis with a return
to the political philosophical justification and legitimization of community justice.
9


CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Research suggests that community courts are effective in reducing crime and
recidivism. The investment into the defendants, victims and community provide
substantive support and encouragement of safer, more responsive communities
(Crawford, 1995; Dubow & Podolefsky, 1982; Hawkins et al., 1995). In spite of the
research available to support the effectiveness of community courts, there is a substantial
lack of peer-reviewed literature on the theoretical underpinnings of community courts,
being therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice. This is the case, merely because
of the newness of these theories, as well as that of community courts. Specifically
therapeutic jurisprudence was conceptualized circa 2000 by Dr. David Wexler;
restorative justice was formalized as an effort to institutionalize peace in the 1970s; and
the first community court was implemented as an alternative to traditional court in 1993
(Court Innovation, 2009; Immarigeon, 1996; Suffolk University, 2012; Wexler, 2000).
The review begins with a broad view of political philosophy beginning with some
of the earliest writings from Aristotle to John Rawls, relating to general concepts and
ideals found in community justice. Then, the review shifts to hone in explicitly on the
two theories of justice underpinning community justice, known as therapeutic
jurisprudence and restorative justice. These theories aid in the illumination of the theme
of community justice both explicitly and implicitly throughout the tapestry of political
and judicial philosophy and theory. This examination occurs through historical,
theoretical and descriptive analyses (Braithwaite, 2002; Rottman & Casey, 1999; Wexler,
2000). Once the theoretical and philosophical foundation is laid for community justice, in
10


order to establish its empirical effectiveness as an alternative to traditional court, the final
piece of literature to be examined is a case study. The East of the River Community
Court project analysis provides an empirical look at the effectiveness of community court
as currently implemented. The review briefly transitions to a methodological and
descriptive review of the implications these theories of justice have on the
implementation of community courts. Finally, the review concludes with a discussion of
the current state of the literature and how this research fits in the body of both justice and
political theory as well as in the practical application of alternative forms of adjudication.
Disparate Realms of Literature Explored
Over the past several decades, traditional juvenile justice and low level court
systems and programs have often tended toward isolating offenders by funneling them
through a broad, general court which typically does not take external factors into account
when determining sentencing (Hawkins et al., 1995). This isolation of juveniles and low
level offenders leads to a phenomenon referred to as the revolving door of recidivism
(Nolan, 2003). The criminal justice system cannot continue down this path due, in part, to
a variety of factors such as court sustainability, the goal of reduced crime rates and costs
(Sherman et al., 1997).
Fortunately, there is newly emerging research in the realm of a substantive
alternative to this problem, through the mechanism of community courts (Berman, 2000).
These community courts are propped up on the implicit and explicit foundation
comprised of jurisprudential and philosophical theories which aid in justifying
community courts as legitimate means whereby low-level crime is addressed (Karp &
Clear, 2000).
11


Political Philosophy
While pragmatism and application are vital pieces to the implementation of
community justice, just as necessary for its legitimization is the political theory which
buttresses and undergirds most notions of justice known in the world today. This section
examines the body of political philosophical literature to determine trends of community
justice specifically and justice5 more broadly. The literature suggests that community
interaction is inevitable and necessary in creating responsive citizens; that punishments
must be tailored to the fit the crime committed; and also that the justice system must be
made equitable, fair and easily accessible if the success of the defendants, victims and
community as a whole is to be ensured (Bentham, 1843; Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999;
Rawls, 1971). The section is organized through examining political philosophy focused
around these three key themes, which are vital to the theoretical and practical application
of community justice.
Community interaction. Communities play an active role in the adjudication
process. Whether or not the results are effective depends not only on indicators of
effectiveness, but also on the community and the stakeholders involved (Barzilai, 2003).
Additionally, the community interaction aspect is vital to community justice, because
when one is invested in and encouraged as an active member within society, one is less
likely to commit a crime or act against his or her given community. This phenomenon is
5 As a point of clarification, while there are many forms of justice in philosophy, the form of justice
discussed throughout this paper remains in the realm of restorative justice. There are other philosophical
nuances of justice coupled with restorative justice including consequentialism in that justice is forward
looking with a focus on maximizing ideal social benefits for broader society (Bayles (Ed.), 1968).
Additionally, there is a strong undercurrent of utilitarianism, yet with a more specified view focusing on
crime reduction, and the moral worth of an action as determined by its outcome (Mill, 1863/1991;
Bentham, 1843).
12


known as the good-soldier syndrome (Podsakoff et al., 1997). Thus, an exploration of the
ideal community engagement on a broad level within the political philosophical tradition
is worth developing.
Aristotles famous piece Nicomachean Ethics was a crusader in the literature of
political theory, being the first time in the western world that the term ethics was used
as theory as well as praxis. Aristotle characteristically stays in the abstract throughout this
piece, yet provides uncannily pragmatic practices. Specifically he wrote, Then do the
carpenter and the leatherworker have their functions and actions, while a human being
has none, and is by nature idle, without any function? Or, just as eye, hand, foot and, in
general, every part apparently has its functions, may we likewise ascribe to a human
being some function besides all theirs? (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999, pp. 99-112)
Through this, Aristotle is highlighting humans roles in society, by pondering the ideal
that a humans role is for the broader consequence of society. Ones role cannot be
separated from ones humanity. Through examining the alternative that a humans roles
is merely self-benefitting only within society, Aristotle concludes throughout the chapter
that humans impact humans en masse based on daily interaction, natural occurrences and
results of actions done (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Essentially, Aristotle was
underscoring a central idea in community justice in that community interaction is
inevitable and will never cease, based on the fact that humans live together.
In addition to the minimization of harm caused to ones self, Epicurus, a
prominent philosopher of the axial age, community and living in unity with one another
(Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original; Meister, 2009). While little of his writing
remains, these two important aspects of his philosophy (mostly crafted and survived by
13


the Epicurean School) are foundational philosophical principles underpinning community
justice (Duignan, 2011). Specifically the minimization of harm to ones self is seen in the
proactive approach to sentencing of defendants in order to minimize future crimes of
greater consequence (Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original). As a result, all citizens
and defendants benefit through safer communities with minimal amounts of harm
through crime and recidivism (Malkin, 2003). And additionally, Epicurus notion of
societal peace and harmony come from being engaged in one anothers lives is seen
through the sentencing options in addition to the pursuit of broader community cohesion
through a focus on minor offense reduction (Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original).
Addressing and stopping the problem of criminal behavior at an early stage through
preventative measures benefits all stakeholders in the crime, including the community at
large, thereby increasing the peace and harmony of the given community (Center for
Court Innovation, n.d.; Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original; Fagan & Malkin,
2003).
Immanuel Kant was another important political philosopher in the realms of
morals, ethics and community interaction. While he wrote widely on these and other
topics, a small piece in his famous piece, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals,
regarding the inevitable community interaction is unpacked here. Specifically, Kant
praised the interaction between many members within a community as the driver behind
ultimate community cohesion and success. Jacks-of-all-trades leads to barbarism (Kant,
1785/2005, pp. 1-4). Most notably that each person performing his or her given task (or
trade) in society is the oil with which the machine of productivity in and success are able
to flourish (Kant, 1785/2005). He goes on to point to the ultimate goal of reason-guided
14


tasks as the definition of virtue. Thus, while arriving at a different conclusion, Kants
focus on community interaction as central to societal function and success is an important
attribute present in the underpinnings of the process of community court.
An additional important piece of successful community justice and of all forms of
justice is that the arbiter or judge needs impartiality in order to effectively sentence and
cast judgment (Konow, 2003). Essentially, justice needs to have the defendant or
offenders best interest at the center of sentence crafting and adjudication more broadly
(Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Thompson, 2002). This aids in helping the offender to feel more
taken care of of the justice system in a way that encourages success as an active, equal
member in society. The notion that the crime, while wrong and punishable, does not
define the defendant is crucial to community justice (Malkin, 2003).
Punishments. The critique of unmet punishment or, justice-light is a common
one against community justice. Jeremy Bentham, who had a great influence on John
Stuart Mill in his account and formulation of Utilitarianism, shed light on philosophical
justification for punishment in response to criminal behavior, apart from the strictly
physical (Wilson, 2012). In Benthams treatise, The Principles of Morals and Legislation,
he claimed that,
The general object which all laws have, or ought to have, in common, is
to augment the total happiness of the community; and therefore, in the first place,
to exclude, as far as may be, everything that tends to subtract from that
happiness: in other words, to exclude mischief But all punishment is mischief: all
punishment in itself is evil. Upon the principle of utility, if it ought at all to be
15


admitted, it ought only to be admitted in as far as it promises to exclude some
greater evil (Bentham, 1843, p. 178).
Bentham was arguing that punishment is evil in itself. However, it is permissible
if it prevents further evil, such as offenses or crimes, from happening in order to reduce
recidivism, thereby maximizing the happiness and utility of the community as a whole.
Building upon Benthams utilitarian approach to the justification of punishments,
Thomas Hobbes is another political philosopher who advanced ideals pertaining to the
appropriateness of punishments commensurate with crimes committed (Hobbes,
1651/1994). Though Hobbes philosophy typically is known for harsh critiques on human
judgment, it is this facet of his philosophy that is actually seen in community justice in a
more implicit way. Specifically, his notions of the poverty of human judgment point to
the need for a multiplicity of counselors and judges. Though Hobbes specifically points
to science or logic as the judge to right this wrong of human judgment, the principle
of the necessity for several perspectives to balance the singular human view, is a central
tenet of community court (Hobbes, 1651/1994). Thus, the very premise of community
court is the collective action of the many stakeholders in the justice system as well as in
the community coming around the defendant and victim to ensure successful restoration
and reintegration.
Additionally, according to Hobbes, the very violation of the law is a crime. He
then notes that crime requires a penalty with a level of severity matching that of the crime
committed in order to validate the legitimacy of the supreme powers (i.e. the
government) (Hobbes, 1651/1994). The need to legitimize the government, or the
16


supreme powers, is a central undercurrent within both this research as well as in the
expansion of community justice.
The crux of Benthams and Hobbes views on punishments reveals a prime reality
that is not often present in modern misdemeanor adjudication. While the notion of
punishments fitting the crimes is more routinely applied in cases involving major
offenses and felonies, the vitality of this modus operandi in sentencing cannot be absent
from adjudication in cases dealing with minor offenses and misdemeanors (Sherman et
al., 1997). Defendants with minor offenses are in vulnerable positions given their lower
level of offense. They are confronted with either a life of crime or a life free from crime.
If their sentences are intentional, addressing underlying issues of their crimes with a
focus on their reintegration into the community, they are less likely to reoffend (Fagan
and Malkin, 2003). This creates not only safer communities with less crime, but citizens
in the community who are invested and engaged due to the intentional sentences designed
to address their social realities as well as their criminal behavior (Indianapolis
Community Court, 2013; Nolan, 2003).
From a more abstract application, a central theme throughout Humes Essays,
Moral and Political and Literary, is that all things known (things of matter) are found
through cause and effect (Hume, 1758/1986). Thus, extrapolating this principle,
punishments not only should fit the crimes committed appropriately, but rather must. Due
to the reality that cause and effect drives the logos, or what we know and derive from life
in a sensory capacity, we must then respect its power, by encouraging the most ideal
outcome (lack of recidivism or reoffending from a criminal) possible (Hume, 1758/1986).
If matter is premised upon cause and effect, and likewise recidivism is premised, in large
17


part, upon general sentences that fail to address reasons behind the crime and aid in the
rehabilitation of the defendant, then the justice system is failing to accomplish its primary
goal. However, on the positive side of this notion, there is great freedom in the reality
that if the justice system can tap into the proper sentences for addressing root causes of
crime (cause), then the ideal, projected outcome becomes slightly less ethereal, and far
more practical in the reduction of the reoccurrence of similar crimes by the same offender
(effect).
With a strong utilitarian approach to punishment being central to the idea of
community justice broadly and of community court specifically, it nonetheless receives
critiques. One common critique against it comes in the form of an opposing theory of
justice: retributive justice, or retributivism. This theory essentially claims that only those
who are guilty or commit a crime should receive punishment essentially in a vacuum,
without regard to the overall welfare (Nozick, 1981). Essentially, retributivism is focused
solely on the ramifications to a crime commensurate with the severity of the given crime.
However, while retributivism is partially present in community court punishments, it
nonetheless nullifies the other vital piece of sentencing considerations, being the heavy
focus on the entire community, rather than solely the offender and the crime. In response
to the seeming impartiality to the crime, offender and subsequent sentence claimed by a
retributivist, is that it is merely a form of punishment akin to vengeance and malice
(Honderich, 1969).
Equitable & accessible justice system. Beyond claiming that [Justice is] a first
virtue of social institutions, John Rawls asserts that liberty (basic rights such as having a
home, food, etc...) and equality (equal opportunities amongst all) are presented in order
18


to reveal his notion of the ultimate fair measure of justice in society. Rawls claims in his
magnum opus, A Theory of Justice, that these two essential provisions liberty and
equality cannot be absent from the justice system in place. They are ordered to
highlight that liberty is paramount in encompassing the inalienable rights of the citizen.
Beyond that however, Rawlss focus turns to the utter importance of providing a personal
approach to justice (and implicitly executing justice) in society through ensuring equal
access to the justice system in a way that encourages success as an active member within
the society (Rawls, 1971). Rawls, belonging to the social contract ethicists, provides that
equal opportunities are not first granted based on merit alone, but rather that the
opportunities be made equally and readily available for all to at least be able to attempt to
enter successfully into the fabric of larger society (Rawls, 1971). In the community
justice application, this notion of equal opportunities and leveling the playing field for the
offender to rehabilitate and restore the harm done as a result of the offense committed to
the community in which the offender belongs, thereby allowing the offender to be able to
reintegrate into his or her society stronger, is ubiquitous.
In light of the accessibility of a more personal form of justice, the administrative
and judicial process requires exposition. Thus, sacrificial action is a core concept of
empathy. The act of making sacrifices by one for another is what makes social existence
possible (Hoffman, 2000). This act of sacrifice through administrative and empathetic
energy through judicial process is vital to community court in practice and the
community justice concept abstractly. Extrapolating Hoffmans research on consequence,
empathy, reward and prosocial moral development, a community justice approach must
be marked first by mere availability on a personal level to those entering it and also must
19


be actively engaged in the life of the offender in order to prevent further, more serious
crimes from occurring (Hoffman, 2000).
Taking a step back further into abstraction, in his book, Enquiries concerning
human understanding and concerning the principles of morals, David Hume presents a
portrait of a theoretical world in which nature provides everything necessary that man
requires. While seemingly ideal, Hume posits that in such a world there would be no such
thing a justice, because there would be no claim to property or personal belonging,
because everything just is. As such, in regard to the need for a justice system, if there are
no laws based on no claims to anything, then there would certainly be no need for a
justice system. And this while seemingly so, Hume concludes, is not an ideal world
(Hume, 1777/1975). Therefore by implication, Hume underscores the need for an
equitable justice system, given that we do not live in such a world. In the world in which
we live, he captures the underpinning purpose of the community justice system through
his section subtitle public utility is the sole origin of justice (Hume, 1777/1975, Sec. Ill
On Justice, Sub. 145). Thus, for Hume, the very nature of justice is comprised of the
utility and action of people operating within it. In community justice, and community
court specifically, the sentences crafted for defendants are crafted in an effort to
maximize their utility in their community. It is this utility and action within their
community as a result, which defines their place in the community as well as the worth of
the system of justice invoking the sentence.
Additionally, in this piece to further illuminate his central point on justice, Hume
goes on to note that in another fictitious society in which the central authority was overly
magnanimous, then this too would void justice and the need for a proper system in which
20


equitable adjudication was necessary (Hume, 1777/1975). Therefore, the strength of a
justice system that relies on severe and intentional punishments, yet through means by
which said punishment intentionally addresses the crime in the best interest of the
defendant rather than a blanket-sentence approach, is the ideal system of justice. In such a
system of justice, all parties win: the defendant in having the opportunity to successful
reintegrate into his or her community; the justice system having efficiently addressed the
low level crime in an effort to reduce or eliminate the potential of future more serious
crimes; and the community as a whole for having a justice system that encourages
cohesion through interaction and restoration of both the victims as well as the defendants
(Berman, 2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Malkin, 2003; Nolan,
2003).
Justice: Therapeutic Jurisprudence & Restorative Justice
If injustice is a lack of law and fairness, then justice must be fairness and
lawfulness. Justice must be implemented primarily in an effort to correct the ills and
unfairness and lawlessness as seen in society (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Beginning
with this notion that justice plays a role in the balancing of the proverbial scale, an
appropriate view of specific nuances, trends and sub-theories of justice can be more
uniquely understood. This section details the literature on the two theories of justice
explored in this research project therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice. The
literature suggests that there is a benefit to the sustainability of the court when adequate
theory is buttressing it through thorough comparing and contrasting (Nolan, 2001, Nolan,
2003; Thompson, 2002). Additionally, the literature points to a heavy emphasis on the
centrality of both victim and defendant (Dorf & Fagan, 2003) and what the restoration
21


and reintegration processes looks for both (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Nolan 2003).
Research also points out the role and affect the community has on the process, being a
large constituency, by default, of crime (Dubow & Podolefsky, 1982; Fagan & Malkin,
2003; Hawkins, 1995).
After examining complementary attributes of each theory in relation to one
another, they tend to diverge in motivation for the given course of action (Braithwaite,
2002; Nolan, 2003; Rottman & Casey, 1999). For example, restorative justice tends to
focus heavily on the rehabilitation of the defendant in conjunction with the restoration of
the victim and community, while therapeutic jurisprudence has a wider lens taking all
aspects of the defendant into account for rehabilitation, but additionally exploring what
reintegration into society will look like (Nolan, 2003).
The comparing and contrasting of therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice
have carried on this tradition within justice theory, in order to reveal ideal attributes of
both theories to provide a legitimate and appropriate foundation on which community
courts can be established and flourish (Braithwaite, 2002; Nolan, 2003). According to
justice literature and community court research, there is a problem with the revolving
door of recidivism of juveniles and low level offenders (Dorf & Fagan, 2003; Nolan,
2003). Offenders are not being adequately focused on and the terms of the sentences for
the given crime is generalized and standardized, and disengages the defendant from the
community thereby opening the door to repeat offenses (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Lee,
2000; Nolan 2003). Thus, research also points toward alternatives to these traditional
forms of justice that do little to nothing to curtail crime at the low level, suggesting the
pursuit of the implementation of a new form of justice with new theories undergirding
22


them in order to more effectively address low level crime in an effort to prevent
recidivism and future crimes from occurring (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Thompson,
2002).
The central trend in the literature, which could be referred to as option-seeking,
is clearly evident in these two competing theories of justice through looking at all
stakeholders in a given crime and taking into account the defendant and how he or she is
to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Nolan 2003). Also, the
notion of restoration as a result of the crime, being a central tenet in sentencing options, is
a new trend, most clearly represented in restorative justice (Braithwaite, 2002), but also a
foundational piece in therapeutic jurisprudence (Crawford, 1995; Hawkins et al., 1995;
Rottman & Casey; 1999; Wexler, 2000). Both theories of justice include heavy focus on
the victim in the crime and what the relationship victim and the defendant, as the
restoration process progresses (Braithwaite, 2002). An example of restorative justice in
practice could be the meeting of the incarcerated defendant and the victim (or a
representative of the victim) to order to pursue closure, cohesion, respect and civility
(Dukakis, 2011).
Definition, similarities & differences. Restorative justice and therapeutic
jurisprudence are two relatively new forms of justice, especially in comparison to
Aristotles notion of justice as virtue circa 350 BCE (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Thus,
why would an examination of these forms of justice be worth developing? The simple
answer is that, in order to better understand community courts and ultimately how to
decrease crime and recidivism in society, there is a need to start with an appropriate
theoretical examination, in order to understand the implementation of said courts. Thus,
23


unpacking these two theories lend legitimacy to the notion of the broad, new alternative
to traditional court systems, in the form of community courts.
Restorative justice is the form of justice focusing heavily on the rehabilitation of
both the victim and the offender in the given crime (Morris et al., 2001). The reason for
this focus is to approach the adjudication of the crime in a more holistic form, in order to
determine reasons why the offender has offended and the steps required preventing it
from reoccurring. The latter half of this definition is a central tenet of community court (a
type of problem solving court). In community court, the court team, made up of the
judge, case manager, defendant, police officer and prosecutor, all work together to focus
on behavioral causes of the crime committed and what the restoration process will look
like for all stakeholders in the given crime. This notion of restoration for those involved
is a key aspect of restorative justice as well as firmly embedded within the foundation of
the modus operandi of community courts (Nolan, 2003). Where traditional courts take
into account the criminal record of the offender, they tend to focus more heavily on the
offense before the court at the moment of arraignment, and determine sentencing based
on the momentary information (Marrus, 2003). Thus, blanket sentencing, including fine
and/or jail sentence, is typically the result.
Similarly, therapeutic jurisprudence focuses heavily on the victim, offender and
the community as a whole during the adjudication process. David Wexlers notion of
Therapeutic Jurisprudence is the intersection of psychological examination and
philosophical interpretation. Honing in on the why of the crime and of the outcome of the
analysis allows for a platform from which to determine effective sentencing (Casey &
Rottman, 2000; Wexler, 2000). The central difference between these theories though, is
24


in the realm of post-adjudication. In addition to the sentencing process nuanced
differences in having a heavier psychological focus than restorative justice, there is
another, more crucial difference between these two theories. Where restorative justice
focuses on both offender and victim during the adjudication process, therapeutic
jurisprudence includes an intentional focus on reintegration of the offender back into
his/her community for the sake of creating more responsive, responsible and invested
citizens (Nolan, 2003; Wexler, 2001). The notion of creating and encouraging invested
citizens is central to reducing recidivism and crime under community courts, in that if the
defendant feels more a part of his/her community and has the resources and skills
necessary to reenter into the fabric of larger society successfully, then there is a great
likelihood and empirical backing (to be discussed in future sections) that the recidivism
and reoffending rate will decrease (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Westat, 2012).
Without these core theoretical tenets comprising the foundation of the
implementation and success of community courts, any further examination into
community courts is impossible. Therefore, the implications on the implementation of
these courts are unavoidable and must be the starting place to realizing their ultimate
success.
Community courts. This section details literature on community courts. Overall,
the literature suggests community courts are an ideal alternative to traditional courts
because they take into account the whole picture, including the defendant and associated
behavioral issues (Nolan 2003; Westat, 2012; Wexler 2000). Also, the literature suggests
that community courts are more beneficial to the defendant as well as the victim, because
they focus heavily on restoration during the process and reintegration after the process of
25


being in the criminal justice system (Karp & Clear, 2000; Lee, 2000; Rottman & Casey,
1999; Thompson; 2002). Finally, research shows that community courts are empirically
effective in the bringing down of recidivism and reoffending rates of minor criminal and
juvenile offenders (Malangone, 2012; Westat, 2012).
Community courts are new alternatives to traditional courts, designed to be issue
specific and provide a holistic approach to rehabilitating both the defendant and the
victim in a crime, as well as on reintegration of the defendant in the community (Berman
2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Kelling, 1992; Kurki, 1999; Malkin, 2003). It is
important to note that there are different foci between the varying types of problem
solving courts (Dorf & Fagan, 2003). Specifically, there are mental health courts,
domestic violence courts, drug courts and community courts. While each type of court
offers different services based on the differing foci (Nolan, 2003), a commonality
between all of these courts is the theoretical foundation and presence of restorative justice
and therapeutic jurisprudence (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Karp & Clear, 2000; Rottman &
Casey, 1999).
An additional difference between traditional court and community courts is a
sentencing stipulation known as diversion (Hawkins, 1995; Lee, 2000; Malkin, 2003).
While diversion is available in traditional and community courts whereby, the defendant
has stipulations to complete and given successful completion, the distinction is that
diversion in community court is achieved through the court while diversion in traditional
court is outsourced to a prosecutor or district attorney (Karp & Clear, 2000).
Similar to therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice theory to an extent, the
literature on community courts is young and full of gaps. Nonetheless, there is substantial
26


research beginning to propagate (Nolan, 2003). This new alternative to traditional courts
through involving the community in the adjudication process in order to restore the harm
done as a result of the quality-of-life offense by the defendant, to the victim and
community as a whole (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Knight, 2007). Research reinforces the
need to shift the focus away from traditional court and sentencing options and hone in on
what the restoration, rehabilitation and reintegration (Berman, 2000; Kurki, 1999; Nolan,
2001).
Therefore, in light of the trends in the research and the realization of the problems
facing the justice system, community courts provide useful alternatives to addressing key
issues and behavioral problems behind the criminal (M2 Communications, 2006) as well
as the crime committed, seeking restoration and reintegration (Kurki, 1999). Community
courts specifically and community courts in general, have continually shown to be highly
effective (Westat, 2012) in reducing crime and recidivism in the communities in which
they are implemented across the world (Indianapolis Community Court, 2013; see also
Knight, 2007; McMartin, 2008).
Case study: The ERCC project. This section explores the effectiveness of an
implemented community court. The central finding is that community court is highly
effective in reducing crime and recidivism of low-level offenders (Westat, 2012). The
research suggests that regardless of the size of a community, the community court model
is transferrable in that it is effective in reducing crime and recidivism (Westat, 2012). In
light of the limited amount of data analysis illuminating the effectiveness of community
courts, its empirical legitimization is thin, yet convincing.
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A methodological and descriptive case study is used in this paper to explore the
empirical reality of community courts through program evaluation, as they are
implemented in society. The central findings are that community court is an effective
alternative model of adjudication through reducing crime and recidivism rates among
misdemeanor and juvenile offenders (Fagan & Malkin 2003; Westat, 2012). Thus, given
a facet of the research goal being the determination of the effectiveness of community
courts implementation, data analysis of crime and recidivism rates is a primary form of
text examined. Relying on selected peer-reviewed journals insofar as they support the
theoretical foundations of community court and its empirical implementation and
evaluation, is also be critical in assessing the effectiveness of community court.
More established community courts have more data and experience in the realms
of sentencing creativity, diversion program creation and troubleshooting experience
aimed at working out kinks which arise along the way (Fletcher, 2004; Lee, 2000). This
length of time and subsequently, increased effectiveness and efficiency as a result is a
luxury that younger community courts do not always get to enjoy (Lee, 2000; Thompson,
2002). However, community courts are effective regardless of length of implementation
or multiplicity of programs available to defendants based on the motivation of the court,
which is to responsive, invested citizens accountable to the community and vice versa
(Berman, Feinblatt & Glazer, 2005).
The Washington D.C. East of the River (ERCC) community court project is a
formal version of a problem solving court that has been highly effective, based on the
empirical analysis of its community court, compiled, produced and analyzed by Westat
Inc. (Westat, 2012). The ERCC provides some of the first empirical evidence of the
28


effectiveness of an implemented community court (Malangone, 2012). The ERCC
lowered crime and recidivism rates and produced successful defendants who are half as
likely to reoffend when compared with those in similar catchment areas with no
community court model (Westat, 2012). There is a specific examination of the empirical
outcomes shown in the Westat report of the ERCC in the future Case Study section.
Current state of literature & next steps. The literature has demonstrated the
potential for a causal link between these theories of justice in providing the foundation
for community courts when implemented in society and the creation of safer more
responsive communities and thus facilitating community cohesion through restoration,
rehabilitation and reintegration (Karp & Clear, 2000; Kelling, 1992; Nolan, 2001).
Therefore, it continues to be clear that community courts are highly effective regardless
of the size or location of the community (Indianapolis Community Court, 2013; see also
McMartin, 2008; Westat, 2012).
In the current literature, there are gaps based on the reality of the newness of both
the theories of justice as well as the community courts. These have simply not been
around long enough to receive a litany of both criticism and praise that add to the
legitimacy or illegitimacy of each. This research paper contributes to filling the gap in the
research, by linking theory to the implementation of the courts to the policy process.
While the research available as evaluated on community courts today is thorough,
whether a full length analysis or preliminary data measuring early effectiveness, the lack
of a multiplicity of analyses and reports on community courts across the world causes the
thinness of the current body of empirical literature on community courts. This is the case
because the courts are simply new and only roughly 36 have been implemented (Burack,
29


2011; Nolan, 2003). The justification and subsequent importance of this research is to
provide a strong empirical framework with the data available illuminating the
effectiveness of community courts, in order to encourage further implementation of them
around the world. Thus, examining the implementation and evaluation are central to this
research goal and comprises the remainder of this paper.
The importance of this research is clear: providing a theoretical and policy
framework for the relatively new alternatives to traditional courts through the
implementation of community courts increases an appreciation for these community
courts in being avenues to creating safer communities made up of thoughtful and
responsive citizens (Berman, 2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Hawkins et al., 1995;
Nolan, 2001).
30


CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
Community court is new form of adjudication that focuses on the rehabilitation
and reintegration of defendants and victims (Lee, 2000). These courts are the judicial
wing of the broader, new concept of community justice. The modus operandi of
community court is focusing on the impact to and from the community as a player in the
restoration process of all stakeholders in the crime. The community portion of community
court is bifurcated in that defendants in particular are invested through two goals: so that
they may in turn invest in their community and that the community plays an active role in
the shaping of its citizens. For example, the defendant hones skills as a part of his/her
sentencing that can be used in the community upon successful completion of the program
(Milliken, 2011).
Information Utilized
The ERCC project, as has been referenced previously, is a community court recently
implemented in the Washington D.C. police districts 1 through 7 for minor offenses. The
aim of the need for and implementation of community court was to address and stop
crime at a lower level in an attempt to reduce larger, more serious crimes in the future
through seasoned criminals and recidivism. The most frequently occurring problems and
subsequent charges for defendants in the ERCC were misdemeanor drug charges (Westat,
2012). Additionally, about 72% of defendants entering the ERCC had a prior case history
with the D.C. superior court and of those, the amount of prior cases ranged from 0 to 51
per defendant (Westat, 2012).
31


Methodology
Demarcating and thus appreciating the undercurrent of community justice within
the tradition of political philosophy and using that linkage to legitimize this new
trajectory of justice, requires a mixed-methods approach. This pursuit is valid because the
longstanding, respected nature of the discipline of political philosophy provides
additional support for the inversely and relatively young concept of community justice.
Regardless of the quality of the empirical data available on community justice discussed
in this paper, an additional form of legitimization will prove useful in offering further
support for community justice, thereby encouraging its perpetuation. Given the broad
scope of philosophical writing pertaining to justice or community theory coupled with the
nuanced adjudication method and judicial theory embedding within community justice,
the variety of methods used in this project are mixed.
The three methodologies utilized throughout the project are unpacked in this
chapter: historical, qualitative and quantitative. The historical methodology is peppered
throughout with a heavier discussion in the previous chapter reviewing the literature. An
historical perspective of the political philosophy, which undergirds most notions of
justice and specifically that of community justice, is the abstract adhesive binding
together the discussion and process throughout this project. Without an appropriate view
of the implicit and explicit trends of community justice-oriented theory firmly
established, any attempt to further expound upon such ideals in an effort to move
community justice from abstraction to practical implementation would be futile.
Quantitative methods prove to be meaningful tools to exemplify the effectiveness,
or any desired outcome, of many forms of research projects. The usefulness of
32


empirically supporting claims of effectiveness diminishes inevitable biases in qualitative
exposition and analysis. Notably in this project, the effectiveness of community justice in
reducing recidivism among low level offenders is shown through a quantitative look at
the rates of reoffending in several case studies. The reduction of recidivism is the key to
demonstrating the effectiveness of formally implemented community courts in society.
The primary quantitative analysis is in the following chapter on the East of the River
Community Court (ERCC) project in the Washington D.C. area. This analysis examines
the recidivism and crime statistics in order to strengthen the justification of community
court as a practical means by which communities across the world can be safer.
Finally, a qualitative methodology provides an appropriate framework through
which to view the effectiveness of community justice beyond quantitative analysis and
discussion. Specifically, the qualitative aspects of community court are espoused
throughout the paper as the undercurrent of successful adjudication, similar to the
abstract application of the historical methodology. The qualitative methodology, for
example, examines the sentencing options provided to defendants and extrapolate the
subsequent feeling of inclusion and thus the creation of an invested, responsive citizen in
the defendant.
A mixed-methods approach can be highly valuable in helping to better understand
certain complexities of problems in which a strict qualitative or quantitative approach
would be more limited (Mason, 2006). The ability to approach a problem or set of
variables from a variety of angles, or methods, is useful in navigating the research
process and leading to significant discovery and analysis (De Lisle, 2011).
33


Procedure & theory. The relationship between the longstanding tradition of
political philosophy and the relatively new concepts of community justice, policing and
court systems create a framework for new community justice paradigms by which
communities can more effectively execute justice, reduce recidivism, and create overall
safer communities. In order to examine and show the effectiveness of community court
specifically, in reducing recidivism and crime rates in society amongst misdemeanor
defendants, there is a series of arguments to be made.
First, a political philosophical framework is useful in offering qualitative support
beyond a strict reliance on empirical evidence as justification for the relatively new
concept of community justice. The application of this framework provides academic
support of community courts proposed expanded implementation. Ostensibly, given the
wide, lengthy acceptance of the discipline of political philosophy, establishing the reality
of community justice concepts embedded within it lends legitimacy to community justice
through the lens of political philosophy.
The second step in legitimizing community justice and court is through the review
of classical to modern political philosophy literature. Essentially this project argues for a
shift in the entire criminal justice and court processes for minor and misdemeanor
offenses. This radical administrative and judicial shift requires legitimacy in order to
catch on quicker and more efficiently for the sake of safer communities and more
responsive, invested citizens, as well as a more efficient judicial system, which goes
beyond docket clearing, mandatory minimums and seemingly de facto incarceration.
While the implementation of community justice is a relatively new concept, its roots go
34


much deeper and are woven into the very fabric of society, philosophy and ultimately
governance as a whole.
Third to be posited is that in order to have safer communities and reduce crime
and recidivism, community justice is the ideal form of justice to implement to more
effectively and efficiently address and stop crime at a lower level, thereby decreasing the
likelihood of graver crimes in the future. This step is crucial to the procedure of
illuminating the empirical effectiveness of this form of justice. The effectiveness is
measured in following chapters by examining a central case study in the Washington
D.C. area, the East of the River Community Court project (ERCC). This case study is the
selected primary case study for illuminating community courts success due to the fact
that it is the first statistical analysis of any community court in the world and also that the
community court is comprised of seven, highly criminally populated areas. This second
attribute of the ERCC leading to its selection as the primary case study is integral in
showing that community justice and court are not effective in small municipalities or
districts with minimal crime. Rather, community court is highly effective in some of the
most criminally populated regions of the country, and therefore it is suitable for both
large and small communities through effectively lowering crime and recidivism rates,
thereby creating safer communities.
Finally, as referenced in the introduction, the link is established that in order to
reduce and prevent crime, diminish the number of recidivists in society and create overall
safer communities throughout the world, a political philosophical approach to community
justice must be undertaken.
35


Process. The intended process of the project is as follows: first, establish that
there is a need to legitimize this new trajectory of justice in society and that political
philosophy is the chosen method through which this is accomplished; second, given the
need for legitimacy through political philosophy, a review of broad concepts from
classical to modern philosophy takes place; third, in order to show the empirical
effectiveness of an implemented community court, a primary case study on the ERCC is
examined, thus revealing community courts effectiveness in adjudicating minor and low
level crime; finally, the project is brought full circle in establishing that in order to have
safer communities and reduced recidivism and crime rates, a political philosophical
approach to community justice must be undertaken.
Limitations & Assumptions
A key limitation is the fact that community justice is so new with the first formal
community court implemented in 1993 in New Yorks Midtown region. Therefore the
canon pertaining to explicitly community-justice-oriented theory and research is
somewhat limited. An additional limitation is that in community justice in its current-day
form is not explicitly mentioned in political philosophy. This is the case because all of the
classical philosophy and most of the modern philosophy examples and theories drawn
upon as support for community justice are mere extrapolations of similar ideals, rather
than the overt philosophical espousing of community justice. Therefore, with this
limitation the subsequent limitation of critique and rebuttal is realistic from those who
may interpret certain pieces of philosophy drawn upon in this project, differently, often
with rather differing conclusions. The majority of the limitations and assumptions
36


embedded throughout this project lie in the historical methodology in examining political
philosophy, rather than the remaining two quantitative and qualitative methods.
For example, in Thomas Hobbess Leviathan, he notes that humans are evil and
depraved and therefore requiring oversight from a higher authority made up, through
interpretation at points, a collective, is an exemplary text in this discussion on
philosophical justification for community justice (Hobbes, 1651/1994). However, this
could be interpreted, in that given the depravity of mankind none are in a position to
make authoritative decisions with ones life in the balance (i.e. the adjudication of fair
or just judicial process from the judge, prosecutor and court team). Thus, while the
massive canon of political philosophy is the source of great fecundity and thought-
provoking ideals and theories, it nonetheless is accompanied by great sources of critique,
disparate interpretation and limited explicit advocacy for any singular theory, such as that
of community justice.
Building upon the limitations in this paper in using political philosophy as a key
realm of abstract and theoretical support of community justice, the literature provides an
interpretation of the ideals of community justice at best, thus relying on a heavy dose of
assumption and extrapolation. In addition to the previous example on Hobbes and the
wide array of potential interpretation leading to probable critique, while Bentham was a
utilitarian and community justice is built heavily on utilitarian aspects, his views on the
greatest good for society can be widely interpreted as well. Bentham intimated that an
ideal, or greatest, good for society in some form does exist. In its simplest interpretation,
Bentham would claim that this greatest good is that which maximizes the total or
majority of societal pleasure or good (Bentham, 1843). Some would claim that it is
37


impossible to aggregate the societal value into an agreed upon sum (Sandel, 2010). Thus,
in order to adjudicate fair and balanced sentences for one defendant may be the opposite
for the other. And it is this inconsistency and incongruence that leads to the very
definition of unfairness and imbalance (Sandel, 2010).
Therefore, these limitations and assumptions challenge the theme of this project.
Nonetheless, given that there exists a strong argument to be made or an interpretation to
be had regarding these piece of political philosophy, the reality illuminated that there
must be a link strong enough to extrapolate and expound upon enough to make the case
for an undercurrent of community justice concepts woven throughout the tapestry of
political philosophy.
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CHAPTER IV
EMPIRICAL APPLICATION AND ANALYSIS
This section examines the first full evaluation of any community court project in
the world. The case study to be the primary focus of analysis and application of the
community court is the community court project referenced throughout this thesis thus
far: the East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC) in the Washington D.C. area.
The successes as empirically shown in the ERCCs final report as compiled, produced
and analyzed by Westat Inc., provide strong evidence linking the processes of community
court to success in reducing crime and recidivism in communities in which it is
implemented.
Upon determining and establishing the formalized and measureable success of a
community court project on a larger scale, this section then compares less-substantial
measurements from community courts around the world, all pointing toward the success
seen in the paradigmatic ERCC case. This comparison helps to establish the effective
adjudication processes of community courts in communities both large and small. The
communities to be compared to the ERCC are: Manhattans Midtown Court (the
inaugural community court project), Milliken, Colorado, San Francisco, California, and
finally Liverpool, England. Each community court project was selected to compare with
the ERCC because they are in disparate communities with varying demographics and
crime realities. Therefore, the differences between the communities help to illuminate the
transferability of community court. It is an effective model by which crime and
recidivism are reduced ultimately creating safer, more responsive communities regardless
of size, types of crimes committed or demographic make-up.
39


East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC)
The analysis from Westat was conducted by breaking down the Washington D.C.
catchment areas into two main study sections as a sample. Demographic, crime and case
data was gathered from two sections of the area. These areas were made up of police
districts one with community court (police districts 6 and 7, which is the ERCC project)
and the other without community court (police district 5). This comparative case study
examined similar catchment areas to determine the reality of the affects, if any, that
community court was having (Westat, 2012).
As referenced in the introduction, traditional court systems typically outsource
cases to a district attorney or prosecutor and are involved in the cases minimally through
periodical review pursuing ultimate successful case closure. Often, the judge may not
even see the defendant in the case if the attorney is appearing on the behalf of the
defendant. This separation between the court and the defendant is precisely the starting
place that community court is focused on adjusting. As a theoretical and foundational
aspect of community courts, the judge presides over all aspects of the proceedings
(Center for Court Innovation, n.d.). The prosecutor or district attorney though, is still a
player in the entire process along with the case manager, court clerk and even the
arresting officer.
The ERCC is no different than this theoretical function. A single judge presides
over all ERCC cases and hears the phases of each case from arraignment to final
disposition. In practice, this reality allows for more informed and intentional judicial
decision-making (Center for Court Innovation, 2013; Westat, 2012).
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Data overview. The implementation of community courts globally, whether in
Washington D.C. or in any communities, does not happen in a vacuum. Implementation
of community court requires a multiplicity of stakeholders as well as those involved
administratively in court establishment. This includes parties from the civil society in
partnership with public agencies and private organizations. Specifically, the Center for
Court Innovation, which is a nonprofit community court consultant firm based out of
New York City, is an active member in the establishment of each community court
throughout the world today. Additionally, government agencies such as the US
Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance are central players in resource
management and funding of and for community court projects in the United States
(Center for Court Innovation, 2013). However, apart from the formalized organizations
crucial to the establishment and efficiency of community court, the court administrators
and the court team are the practitioners responsible for daily implementation of
community court proceedings. It is the intake of defendants, running of the court, and
organization of all court documents and sentencing programs that allow community court
to actually occur. The practitioners act as the agents moving the community court concept
from theory to practice. With the key players in the implementation of community court
introduced, an evaluative discussion of the data and trends of community courts can now
occur.
Therefore in the ERCC, the community court model was formally implemented as
a case study in police districts 6 and 7, pertaining to the aforementioned sample area to
determine its effects on crime, recidivism and community safety at large. This case study
compared and evaluated the effects of community court, essentially to determine if it was
41


worth the expense and shift injudicial administration (Westat, 2012). During the study
time period comprised of case processing to final disposition, the average age of ERCC
defendants was 35 years old and an overwhelming majority of defendants were African
American males. Specifically, 96% of defendants cited into the ERCC were African
American and 75% of defendants were male (Westat, 2012). The most common cases to
come before the ERCC were misdemeanor drug charges. Additionally, roughly 72% of
defendants were had a prior criminal case in the D.C. Superior Court (Westat, 2012).
Thus, the need for a new adjudication option for the D.C. superior court was quite
apparent. From 2007 to 2009, 4,046 defendants were cited into the ERCC. The initial
intake numbers for the study time period are listed in Table 4.1 below.
Table 4.1 Intake Numbers of the ERCC Project
Source: Westat, 2012__________________
Action After Initial Citation Number of Defendants
Diversion 847 (21%)
Transferred to Treatment Courts 379 (9%)
No Diversion (either from opting out or not being offered the option) 2820 (70%)
As a point of reference, there is a different between treatment courts and diversion
programs as achieved through the ERCC. Diversion is available to those with minor
crimes or offenses in that they are given an offer to make restitution in the community,
accept responsibility for behavior, obtain access to treatment and educational services and
divert criminal conviction through the formal process of a deferred prosecution
agreement or deferred sentence agreement. Diversion as introduced at the outset of this
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thesis and also noted throughout, is different from traditional diversion in which the
prosecutor takes on the case outside of the court. Diversion in community court in general
and specifically in this ERCC project is achieved through the court. This is the case
because in-court diversion allows the court to effectively pursue increased accountability
between the stakeholders in the crime and greater respect and interconnectivity amongst
all in the community (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Center for Court Innovation, n.d.;
Nolan, 2003).
Treatment courts are for more serious offenses and address substance abuse issues
and more systemic problems in the life of the defendant that may have contributed to the
crime committed (Westat, 2012). A higher proportion of women participated in
treatment court programs: 32% (Westat, 2012, p. iv).
Analysis. Upon completing the full analysis of the ERCC, Westat found that
during the entire study time period that the ERCC was increasingly more effective at
reducing recidivism, crime and even the likelihood of recidivism as compared with those
in the 5th police district. Most notably, those in the ERCC diversion programs had a 60%
lower recidivism/reoffending rate with their cases pending and received a nolle diversion
disposition, in comparison with those in the 5th police district courts. In addition, after a
year of having successfully completed a diversion program, ERCC defendants had a 42%
lower reoffending rate compared again with those in the 5th police district courts. The
report also noted that defendants who successfully completed an ERCC diversion
program were about half as likely to reoffend when compared to 5th police district
defendants (Westat, 2012).
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Application. In light of these successful outcomes, the Chief Judge of the D.C.
Superior Court has recently implemented the community court model for misdemeanor
charges in police districts 1 through 7 in an effort to create a safer community and aid in
the rehabilitation of defendants. The evaluation discussion section noted of the ERCC
that this promising program could.. .become a model for other communities (Westat,
2012, ix).
Evaluation of the ERCC was vital. If the final report of the ERCC would have
returned results with higher or unchanged results in recidivism and reoffending rates
under the community court jurisdiction, then the likelihood of community courts
continuance and legitimization would have been significantly diminished, and could have
potentially led to the reversal of several community courts already implemented sparsely
around the world, citing that community court may not be as successful as was initially
conceptualized. However with the same token, the evaluation phase of the policy process
proved immensely helpful for the community court form of adjudication in that in light of
the results of the ERCC test case, that chief judge of the D.C. Superior courts formally
implemented the community court model for addressing misdemeanor crimes at a low
level in all seven of police district courts in the Washington D.C. area.
Therefore, the evaluation phase as represented in the case of the ERCC, as well as
the entire policy process has broad implications on the implementation of community
courts globally.
Comparison: Other Community Court Projects
While the ERCC final evaluation report by Westat is groundbreaking empirical
support for community court projects in light of its thoroughness and full analysis, the
44


ERCC is not the only community court to show signs of success. Other community court
projects across the world have illuminated their own brand of success without the benefit
of a full statistical analysis of their community courts output and subsequent effect on
the recidivism and crime numbers. This subsection conducts a non-empirical examination
of three additional community courts across the United States and one community court
oversees in Manchester, England. The U.S. community courts to be examined are
Manhattans Midtown Community Court, which was the first formal community court
project in the world, beginning in 1993 (Nolan, 2003, p. 2); the small, rural town of
Milliken, Colorado and its community court; San Francisco, Californias community
court project; Liverpool, Englands community court.
Midtown. In 1993, the Center for Court Innovation in New York City established
the first community court in order to focus mainly around so called quality-of-life
crimes from prostitution to drug offenses (Nolan, 2003, p. 2). The compliance rate for the
Midtown community court is the highest in the City at 75% and the court has been hailed
by Mayor Bloomberg as a success and effective in dealing with these quality of life
crimes (Center for Court Innovation, 2009). Participants on the Midtown Community
court have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work for community-
related projects and have helped make their city better by giving back and investing in it,
while it has invested in them through this community court process (Center for Court
Innovation, 2009; Curtis, Ostrom, Rottman & Sviridoff, 2000).
The coordination between the varying sectors of the administration and judicial
stakeholders to provide quality services to the defendant to allow the defendant to pursue
successful completion of his/her sentence more efficiently is a key piece to the
45


community court and justice process (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Nolan, 2003).
Interconnectivity and cooperation between these players is an additional nuance further
supported by the theoretical framework introduced in Aristotles notion of community
and the effects cooperation has on society as well as the players involved (Aristotle, 350
B.C.E./1999).
Milliken. The success of the Town of Millikens community court is examined in
a slightly different manner. There has been a limited amount of data collected and
analyzed on its court. The data collected and analyzed was compared against the
projected or ideal outcomes the Town wanted to see from their community court. These
goals were set up in tandem with the Center for Court Innovation and their consultants
(Shelley et al., 2011). In order to provide a general overview of the Town of Millikens
community court and what they wanted to see from it, there are five key goals to
realizing community courts success as outlined in the 2011 Needs Assessment as well as
in the policies and procedures manual. They are, Goal 1: Respond to defendant, victim
and community issues in case selection through enhanced information gathering; Goal 2:
Encompass individualized sentences and dispositions that address defendants underlying
behavioral problems and/or restore the harm of the offense to the community; Goal 3:
Provide a Mechanism for Effective Court Supervision and Increase Participant
Accountability; Goal 4: Strengthen the connection between the court and the community
through problem solving, collaboration and involvement; Goal 5: Promote Public Safety
by Reducing Recidivism and Preventing Crimes (Burack, 2011; Shelley et al., 2011).
Based on the limited amount of data by this young community court, goals three
and five and selected operational objectives laid out in them that best encapsulate the goal
46


and its purpose, is examined. For objectives 3.1, 3.4, 3.5 and 5.1 of goals 3 and 5, see the
projected outcomes versus the empirical outcomes in Table 4.2 below.
Table 4.2 -Milliken: Empirical Outcome vs. Projected Outcome
Source: Davis & Waggoner, 2012______________________________
Projected Outcome Empirical Outcome 678
90% of participants attend mandatory court reviews or have proof of compliance with a non-appearance court review 96% attended court reviews or showed compliance
80% of the participants completed restorative justice activity 96% completed restorative justice activities in their sentence
75% of the participants completed their sentence successfully 85.7% successfully completed in 2012 with 9 cases pending at the time of data collection
50% of the participants did not recidivate by committing similar crimes within the town catchment area at least one year after completion of case 9.3% of community court participants have recidivated
Based on this snapshot of data measuring actual outcomes versus projected
outcomes and associated goals early in the program, Millikens Community Court is
already proving successful in light of the positive goal completion and numbers achieved
thus far, to say nothing of success stories that are not empirically driven, but rather 6 7 8
6 Breakdown: 3.1 72 of 75 total cases continued with the program. The remaining 3 defendants moved to
other towns thus transferring jurisdiction, or entered the foster system and were closed; 3.4 the same case
is true for this objective as with the previous objective; 3.5-36 successful completions, 6 unsuccessful
completions totaling 42 cases in 2012. *Data beyond 2012 is not completed and/or available. Thus the data
represented for the Town of Milliken throughout this paper is preliminary data and limited.
7 Note: for those who do not successfully complete the program, the ramifications include revoking
community court terms and associated plea deals (i.e. DPA or DSA) and reverting to traditional sentencing
as delineated by the Judge during a normally scheduled review, as based on prior discussion amongst
community court team. Those whose cases were closed were not factored into the final percentage count.
8 Breakdown: 5.1-75 total cases with 7 recidivists (33 in 2011; 42 in 2012). *Data beyond 2012 is not
completed and/or available. Thus the data represented for the Town of Milliken throughout this paper is
preliminary data and limited.
47


intangible nuances of success (e.g. smiles on faces, personal thank yous from
successfully completing defendants, increased self-esteem).
San Francisco. The community court project in San Francisco, also known as
San Franciscos Collaborative Court, is farther along in terms of analysis and evaluation
than Millikens community court, but not quite to the stage of full analysis and evaluation
as that of the ERCC, though they will soon undergo an evaluation of their community
court project to be conducted by the Rand Corporation (San Francisco Collaborative
Courts, 2011).
Underscoring the uniqueness of each community court and its fecundity
illuminated through judicial process tailored to the given community in which it operates,
San Franciscos community court is concentrated mostly on drug issues, while also
dealing with homeless-related offenses. Similar to the ERCC, the San Franciscos
community court project was initially implemented on a trial-basis as to determine if it is
effective or not. Since 2007, the court has been operating fully and is now undergoing the
aforementioned rigorous review and evaluation by the RAND Corporation (Knight, 2007,
p. Dl). This development over several years points to the effectiveness of San
Franciscos model of adjudication. Specifically in the article from the San Francisco
Chronicle in 2007, San Franciscos Mayor, Gavin Newsom, claimed that he was assured
this [community court project] is the right way to go in spite of the controversy
surrounding its initial formulation given that it was merely a departure from the
traditional yet broken court system (Knight, 2007, p. Dl). Therefore with the initial
support and recognition from the top political powers in San Francisco that the traditional
court system was not effective enough in reducing crime and recidivism in San Francisco
48


and now that the community court it is still in operation and undergoing a rigorous
evaluation following in the ERCC footsteps, it is fairly safe to claim that San Franciscos
community court appears to be a success (Knight, 2007; Nirappil, 2012).
Liverpool. Continuing in the common thread of community court establishments,
the Liverpool, England community court is creating its own version of judicial process
aimed at combining communities and judicial administrators to address and end local
low-level crime. Under the guidance of Judge David Fletcher, the North Liverpool
Community Justice Centre has been engaged in targeting the priorities of a
neighbourhood for low level crime, instead of using the one size fits all method... [which]
means that communities needs are met and justice is served (Fletcher, 2004; M2
Communications, 2006). Additionally, the community court is dealing with a variety of
low level offenses successfully in that they are seeing a recidivism rate of around 10%
(Fletcher, 2004).
Similar to the ERCCs expansion of community court to be the primary method of
dealing with low-level crime in all police districts, 1 thru 7, the North Liverpool
community court has been so successful that the government has extended the similar
method of judicial process to around 10 other areas in the United Kingdom.
The Effectiveness of Community Court in Light of Political Philosophy
Therefore, with this snapshot of the effectiveness of a community court as
formally implemented in a highly criminally populated community, it is clear that
community court does bring down the rates of reoffending among misdemeanor
offenders and thus is, by implication, more effective than the traditional approach to
juvenile and low level crime. Its effectiveness in highly criminally populated areas is not
49


the only arena in which community court has been seen to flourish. Based on the previous
comparisons of varying types and forms of community court as implemented in diverse
locations throughout the world, its effectiveness has remained relatively consistent.
Therefore, it continues to be clear that community justice is a form of justice not only
highly effective in some of the largest, most criminally-populated in the country and
world, such as Washington D.C, but as well as in small communities such as Milliken,
CO.
Given the effectiveness of community court in many different communities
throughout the world, a political philosophical framework is crucial to understanding the
efficacy of the theoretical underpinnings of community justice. A move from the
theoretical and abstract of philosophy to the practical effectiveness of community court
illuminates the pervasive nature of these principles embedded within western culture
most notably beginning with the classical philosophers of Aristotle and Epicurus.
Reverting back to Aristotles notion that interconnectedness within society is inevitable
and therefore must be pursued and maximized in order to have the most efficient society
is seen within community justice from sentencing options involving all stakeholders in a
given crime, to the reintegration of the defendant back into society. This principle of
inevitable interaction amongst humans in society is the binding force of community
justice.
Community court has been shown to be successful as an alternative form of
justice in addressing and reducing crime at a low level through the ERCC project
examination as well as the other case study overviews. However, there are still few
community courts implemented in the world today. With the link between community
50


court and its effectiveness at reducing crime and recidivism in communities, more
community courts would mean safer communities everywhere and a generally safer
world. Therefore, in the following chapter I posit a model for implementing community
courts nationwide in the United States. I do this in the form of a fictitious memorandum
to President Obama advocating for a national community court system. The justification
is simple: with more community courts, there would be less crime and communities
across the world would be safer. The implementation of such a system is perhaps another
story.
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CHAPTER V
A SAMPLE POLICY MEMORANDUM
TO: President Obama
FROM: Philip Waggoner, MPA Candidate
SUBJECT: National Community Court System
Executive Summary
Crime is ubiquitous. In light of this reality, the traditional justice system is doing
little to adapt to meet the needs of unique situations represented in disparate
communities. The alternative known as community court is an ideal form of justice aimed
at addressing and reducing crime and recidivism among misdemeanor and juvenile
offenders. In spite of its high level of effectiveness in bringing down recidivism rates in
the few communities in which it is implemented though, it is not implemented broadly
enough to affect the nationwide issues of high crime and recidivism rates. This lack of
wide spread implementation of community court could be attributed, among other things,
to the reluctance to change often seen in the criminal justice and legal systems. Thus, in
order to bring these rates down and pursue safer more responsive communities
throughout the country, a national community court system must be implemented. While
there are many avenues through which this national community court system can be
implemented, I recommend a combined centralized and decentralized approach for the
implementation of community court. A centralized community court agency to oversee
the many district community courts across the country allows each district court to pursue
a tailored form of adjudication commensurate with its communitys given needs.
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The Current Reality
According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the
juvenile (persons under 18 years of age) arrest rates since 2000 through 2010 have been
hovering between 2.2 million and 1.6 million each year (Justice Programs, 2010). These
are juveniles who could be in school; juveniles who could be looking toward community
or four-year colleges; juveniles who may need to provide for families and/or siblings;
juveniles who have dreams. These arrest and subsequent crime rates are much too high
for this vulnerable population.
Additionally recidivism rates, according to a 2008 juvenile recidivism study from
the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), are around 70% among males 24
months after their release and at 43% for females 24 months after their release from
incarceration or detention (Children and Family Services, 2011). Thus these numbers
reflect high crime and recidivism rates among a population for whom this should not be
the case.
These high numbers are a political problem, a social problem, a domestic policy
problem, a fiscal problem and moral problem. While juveniles are most often responsible
for their actions, they should not be alienated and thus implicitly encouraged to continue
in this life of crime. There is, however, a form of adjudication known as community
justice, and more specifically community court, which is currently implemented sparsely
throughout the world to address such issues relating to juvenile crime and recidivism,
illuminating highly positive results in decreasing these rates among juvenile offenders.
Given its success, this new idea of community court is the answer to addressing
juvenile crime and recidivism effectively for the good of the offenders, victims and the
53


communities across the country. However, the current piecemeal approach to the
implementation of community court is simply not enough to address this problem. A
broader, national system aimed at reducing juvenile crime and recidivism must be
pursued in order to truly make a dent in these high rates of arrests and continual offenses
of and from juveniles.
Criteria
In weighing the policy alternatives, the measurements of effectiveness as
measured by rates of crime and recidivism, efficiency as measured by time spent in the
criminal justice system and feasibility as examined through economic and political
feasibility are specifically discussed.
The first criterion used to select the policy alternative is to examine the
effectiveness of community court as is it formally implemented today. This examination
occurs through measuring the recidivism and crime rates of a community court as
compared to a non-community court in a similar region. This provides an ideal view of
the effectiveness of community court in addressing the recidivism and crime rates among
juvenile misdemeanor defendants. The effectiveness criterion provides guidance as to
whether or not a community court is worth the costs and expense politically and
economically (to be discussed below) of pursuing implementation nationwide.
The second criterion to be examined is the efficiency of community court as
compared with non-community courts. This is measured through the time the defendant
spends in a community court versus a traditional court. This is accomplished, again,
through observing and measuring similar regions with and without community court in
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order to determine a rate of effectiveness for the proposed community court
implementation. Efficiency is closely linked with the previous criterion of effectiveness.
Thirdly, the economic feasibility of community court is vital in determining its
proposed nationwide implementation. Economic feasibility is measured through
prosecutor time, court and judge time, case manager time, and the amount of cases in
each court coupled with the necessary staff time to ensure the aforementioned goals of
effectiveness and efficiency.
Political feasibility is the final criterion in discussing the policy alternatives aimed
addressing this problem. It is measured through congressional support of the given
alternative (through votes, funding, informal and formal support), executive support and
help in pursuing the passage of the alternatives to ensure successful implementation of
the alternative and additionally judicial support from the judges, attorneys and case
managers who are responsible for the adjudication of community court. The key to
crafting politically feasible policy, though, is the successful marketing of it to the public.
In light of this reality and also that no politician wanting to appear soft on crime, the
argument must focus on the investment into judicial alternatives now will reduce crime
and rates of reoffending in the future, thus reducing costs and lowering crime in the
future, thereby creating sustainably safer communities.
Alternatives
With the intricacies and nuances of the problem at hand, there are a variety of
possible alternatives aimed at addressing and reducing juvenile crime and recidivism
rates through community court. There are four proposed alternatives discussed in this
section. Specifically they are: a centralized national community court system; a mandate
55


for the establishment of federal district community courts; to continue with traditional
courts and do nothing; or a combination of the first two alternatives through the creation
of a central national community court to act as the administrative wing of the district
community courts established under a federal mandate.
The first policy option to establish a centralized, national community court in
Washington D.C. is an alternative which takes the model of the United State Supreme
Court, being the single centralized authority established to adjudicate all community
court eligible cases.9 Any and all community court eligible cases are processed and
overseen at this centralized court, thereby nullifying the current community courts seen
around the country today. The centralization of the community court alternative provides
a national focus on misdemeanor crimes and offense in an effort to address crime at a low
level to aid in the wide-spread reduction of crime and recidivism.
The second policy alternative is the mandate to establish district federal
community courts. This model provides a similar adjudication process currently seen
today through the federal district courts in all American states. However, the current
federal district court system does not include or participate in community court-type
sentencing options or process, and is therefore not a community court system. Thus, this
option transforms the current federal district court system where juveniles or low-level
offenders are traditionally tried in regular court, to federally funded and run district
community courts.
9 Community Court Eligibility is determined based in part on: lack of extensive criminal history, lack of
sexual criminal offenses, lack of felony record, and a variety of other stipulations ensuring quality
participation from qualified defendants in the program (adapted, in part, from the Town of Millikens
Community Court Policies and Procedures manual).
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The third alternative is to simply do nothing. This option is to continue
adjudication of minor and juvenile offenders through traditional court and sentencing
options, thereby allowing the recidivism and crime numbers to remain relatively
unchanged.
The final alternative is a combination between the first two policy alternatives.
This alternative allows for the benefit of a centralized federally-run court for juvenile and
low-level offenders to have access to a community court at a local level (federal districts
as are currently seen today with traditional court) than that of a single, centralized
community court only in Washington D.C. Additionally, the centralized governance
structure of the district community courts around the country is achieved through
administration and top-to-bottom federal jurisdictional processes. Again, this alternative
provides the benefit of centrality and oversight from Washington D.C. yet with the local
access and resources tailored to different communities through the district federal courts.
Projected Outcomes & Tradeoffs
Based on independent and growing research, evaluations and analyses showing
the effectiveness and success of community courts as they are formally implemented
today, it is projected that a national community court program for low-level and juvenile
offenders reduces both crime and recidivism throughout the country on a broad scale.
This aids in creating safer communities. For example, in the East of the River
Community Court project (ERCC) evaluation, participants in the program had a 60%
lower recidivism rate while their cases were pending and a 42% lower recidivism rate
upon a year of their case completion, as compared with defendants not in a community
court but a similar region (Westat, 2012).
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However, as is the case with many policies and alternatives to traditional policies,
there are tradeoffs associated with community court. The clearest tradeoff, to be further
discussed in the following section, is that of financial feasibility. The move from
traditional court to community court requires significant infrastructure shifts both
administratively and judicially. Thus, the tradeoff would be higher crime rates for
initially comparatively lower costs or initially higher comparative costs for lower crime
and recidivism rates and ultimately safer communities.
An additional tradeoff is that of time in the realm of training and re-training
current court employees (primarily administratively). Shifting from one policy or form to
another requires time to adapt and includes varying degrees of learning curves for those
judicial practitioners charged with community courts implementation. This learning curve
and time spent training in new and adaptive judicial and administrative processes is a
relatively significant tradeoff compared with that of doing nothing and remaining on the
current, traditional trajectory. Similar to the previous financial tradeoff, it is either higher
crime and no learning curve/time spent training or lower crime and acceptance of lost
time training/retraining and the administrative costs associated with this new trajectory of
executing justice.
Recommendation & Discussion
President Obama, my recommendation for you is to pursue alternative three. We
can no longer sit and do nothing forcing municipalities to piece meal a solution with
sparse community court implementation around the country. At the same time, we do not
need to hold so much control over the adjudication of minor and juvenile offenders as to
force all low-level crimes through a singular Washington, judicial bottle neck. Thus in
58


light of the administrative and judicial hurdles facing our countrys criminal justice
system as well as the high levels of crime and recidivism, it is time for action through
implementation of community court nationally. We need to be the leaders on this front
and to implement a centralized community court system, with lower level, federal district
courts set up to only handle these issues, thereby front-loading the criminal justice system
to avoid more and increased crime in the future. The pace currently is too slow given its
proven effectiveness. It is time to implement this on a broad scale.
Based on the aforementioned evaluation of the ERCC as well as numerous
popular and academic journal articles illuminating community courts success as
implemented on a community-by-community basis, it is estimated that implementing
community court brings down rates of reoffending among misdemeanor and juvenile
offenders. This causes communities to be safer across the country.
In regard to economic feasibility, the short answer is it would initially cost more
than doing nothing. However, the means by which the alternative is economically
covered is through rechanneling funds currently being funneled to traditional juvenile
court programs, which have historically been less effective, to community court
programs. This is in lock-step with the broader move toward the eventual transitioning of
all traditional courts to community courts. Pursuing community court includes carrying
out and monitoring sentences for juveniles through the court, rather than outside of the
court. This is currently how the traditional court system functions: juveniles are
essentially outsourced to prosecutors or district attorneys to complete their sentences set
by the court. Community court achieves sentencing through the court under the guidance
of the judge as well as the case managers thereby increasing accountability and reducing
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the funds spent on additional legal expenses. Case managers are much more affordable
than lawyers. Additionally, the increase in program costs could come from state justice
expenses a categorical mandate. By front loading the criminal justice system with
increased funds now to decrease future crime and also create invested citizens out of
offenders rather than giving them blanket sentences, and then sending them out to do the
same thing again, we are stopping this revolving door of recidivism. Thus the defendants,
when more invested members of the community, gains skills as a result of sentences and
give back to the community through not only committing less crimes (saving money and
creating safer communities) but also by working in and for the good of the community,
rather than a life of crime, which hurts everyone in the long term.
The political feasibility also creates hurdles initially, compared with taking no
action to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our criminal justice and court
system. The clearest political hurdle is convincing both legislators as well as the general
public that a change is in fact needed; especially change that comes with a price tag. An
avenue to overcome this hurdle is to espouse community court, not as a financial or
political obligation weighing people down, but rather a fresh alternative increasing public
safety, through techniques proven to reduce crime and recidivism while simultaneously
creating more responsive, invested citizens out of defendants who give back to their
communities. Investment in defendants encourages them to actively engage in their
community rather than staying in a life of crime thereby costing the community more
money in the long run.
Again, though, it would not be an easy road. It would require serious political
capital to achieve a greater good for all community members. The key is to constantly
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keep the focus off of the money and the partisan politics that would inevitably arise, and
focus on the public safety, by getting police officers and judges on board. This aides not
only in pursuing the implementation of this policy alternative, but by also in fostering
cooperation between sectors of the criminal justice system, as well as getting both sides
of the aisle on board. Opposing public safety and public service provider cooperation
would not play politically well in most, if not all, districts throughout the country.
Memo Appendix 1: Implementation Strategy
The first step in implementing a national community court system is setting up the
office as a sub-cabinet agency within the Department of Justice. It is the Division of
Community Court (hereafter DCC). The DCC acts as centralized community court
administration and resource support for the district courts around the country. This
provides the necessary oversight at the federal level to allow the local or districts to have
the utmost freedom in the administration of their courts.
Upon creation of the DCC, the statistical wing of the Department of Justice,
which is the Bureau of Justice Statistics, will contract with Westat Inc. (the statistical
analysis firm who provided the first holistic community court evaluation and analysis for
the ERCC). This contractual relationship would provide the funding to conduct a crime
rate study for types of crimes in districts with current federal district courts. Pre-
evaluation data provide the necessary statistical starting place to determine the funding
brackets of each district court. Thus, funding amounts for each community court are
based on types and rate of crimes committed. For example, the districts with high rates of
crime receive more funding in order to appropriately and efficiently address the crime in
their given district.
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Apart from funding, a crucial step in the implementation of the national
community court system is the crafting of general operating procedures or bylaws under
which each district community court operates. Bylaws and operating procedures
developed through the DCC allows for standardized implementation from district to
district. However, each district and state is uniquely outfitted with varying types of crime
potentially foreign to another district. Also the levels and severity of the crimes can
fluctuate, making a standardized formula for the implementation of community courts
across the board difficult. Thus, the centerpiece of the bylaws for all community courts is
the subsection allowing each district court to have greater license in determining
administrative and sentencing procedures that work for them and fit their location and
needs. For example, districts with high rates of harassment charges require a community
court focused more on that as reflected through sentencing options tailored to those with
harassment issues. Likewise, districts with high prostitution rates require sentencing
options for defendants caught using or engaging in prostitution. And districts with higher
truancy rates, but less harassment and prostitution rates need the freedom to craft
sentencing options focused in and around the schools to increase both school attendance
as well as in-school performance
Finally, the implementation of a national community court system is a large,
bureaucratically arduous process. Thus, to ease this inevitable burden, transition teams
established through the Division of Community Court, Bureau of Justice Assistance and
the Center for Court Innovation travel around the country and aide in the move from
traditional court to community court. These teams provide necessary training and
retraining of current court administrators. Additional transition teams include those made
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up of judges currently engaged in community courts who coach other judges in the
processes of the new form of adjudication. This piece is crucial given that a key
difference between traditional court and community court is that all cases are monitored
and tracked through the court under the judges supervision and oversight rather than
outside of the court where the case is outsourced to a prosecutor or district attorney.
Memo Appendix 1: Implementation Strategy (continued)
Table 5.1 Implementation Strategy
Center for
Court
Innovation
(CCI)
>- Bureau of
>
Justice
Assistance
(BJA)
District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court

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Memo Appendix 2: Evaluation Strategy
The evaluation phase of the implementation of the national community court
system is the bedrock of ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project. In order to
justify its continued existence, its effectiveness in reducing crime and recidivism rates
must be proven. The evaluation begins by considering crime and recidivism rates pre-
and post-evaluation. This provides a foundation against which the actual outcomes of the
program can be measured, in order to determine immediate successes and failures of the
program as implemented nationwide. Second, the employee satisfaction rates among
those administering the courts are vital to determining the success of the program from an
internal perspective. Also, this measurement allows for a meaningful starting place to
determine what changes in administration need to occur or be tweaked, ensuring
efficiency and the utmost effectiveness. Thirdly, the evaluation of funding mechanisms
and strategies is integral in determining the long-term financial sustainability of the
national community court system. Finally the long-term effects on costs, crime and
recidivism rates are the culmination of the evaluation process. This would be considered
and conducted several years after the program has been formally implemented to allow
for time to work out kinks and then to determine the success of the program both
economically as well as procedurally in meeting the goal of reduced crime and recidivism
rates among misdemeanor and juvenile offenders.
The pre-evaluation phase occurs first, prior to community courts formalized
implementation. As previously noted, this provides a foundation against which actual
program data can be measured. This is in an effort to determine effectiveness.
Effectiveness of the program as it is implemented will take place during the programs
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first several years. The second evaluation phase provides an early look at the
effectiveness or shortcomings of the national community court program. Finally, the third
phase of evaluation will take place several years after the program has been implemented.
This final phase of evaluation provides a long-term, substantial look at the outcomes of
community court, both internally amongst administration and externally in examination
of the data on crime and recidivism rates.
As referenced in the previous flowchart, the evaluation will be accomplished
through a combination of public and private organizations. The primary organization will
be Westat Inc., given their familiarity with community court as represented in their final
report and evaluation on the ERCC project in Washington D.C. Additionally, the research
group CNA will be utilized in data compilation and analysis given their long-standing
record of government data and statistical analyses of programs in disparate agencies and
organizations including the Department of Defense, Department of the Army,
Department of Homeland Security and the White House. The Bureau of Justice
Assistance will be a central player in the evaluation process given their relationship with
community courts currently implemented around the country through funding and
resource support. The Center for Court Innovation is the company who first established
community courts in society. Thus, they will be central actors in the implementation and
evaluation of the national community court system, given their knowledge of community
courts around the world. Finally, the Department of Justice will be involved in an
oversight capacity due to the aforementioned structure of it being the central location for
the administration and resources of the national community court system.
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CHAPTER VI
CONCLUSION
Problem solving courts in general and community courts specifically are the keys
to addressing and stopping crime at a low level in order to pursue not only reduced crime
and recidivism rates in the short term, but to ultimately reduce the eminence of more
serious crimes in the long term, often as a result of alienation of the offender early on in
the criminal justice system. Therefore, the problem solving courts seek to invest in the
offender, victim and community simultaneously in order to promote community cohesion
and investment across the board between all stakeholder sin the crime.
When the entire idea of problem solving courts is examined through a theoretical
jurisprudential lens of restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence theory and then
through the lens of policy implications linked to the implementation and ultimate long
term success of implementation of these courts, it is clear that the problem and proposed
solutions are not easy and require substantial work. This work is seen through the roughly
37 community courts currently implemented in throughout the world. The ultimate goal,
however, is to pursue the widespread implementation of community and problem solving
courts, in order to increase and strength public safety and allow for tightly-knit
communities to flourish through investment in one another.
Community Court is Effective at Reducing Recidivism
Based on the findings, it is clear that implemented community courts in both
small and large communities are successful at reducing crime and recidivism, as seen
through the evaluation of each case study. It is these analyses, specifically the ERCC, that
have led to the encouragement of other community courts to follow suit in pursuing
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formal evaluations to empirically prove the successes they are seeing in their
communities every day. For example, the San Francisco community court project is next
in line through a current evaluation of their community court project conducted by the
Rand Corporation (San Francisco Collaborative Courts, 2011). Also, in the United
Kingdom, there is a network of community courts currently producing positive results
illuminating the effectiveness of the courts there in reducing crime and recidivism, with
plans to expand (Fletcher, 2004).
Therefore, in communities large or small, domestic or foreign, with wide
variations of crimes committed and demographics represented, community court is
effective. Community court is effective because the sentencing is focused on the
defendant, the victim and the community. This collaboration makes community court an
immensely effectively model of executing justice.
In the words of Judge Fletcher of the Liverpool Community Justice Centre when
asked about the status of the program, he stated that, Were the only court in the country
that has an inter-agency problem-solving team.. .Things are going extremely well. The
work weve been doing is exciting and interesting. Weve been working hard to forge
links to the community and develop this project (Fletcher, 2004, p. 1). The community
court system is now spread across the UK in several municipalities and no longer
contained in Liverpool. Community justice is spreading; the process and subsequent
establishment globally though is too slow.
An Intersection Worth Examining: Political Philosophy and Criminal Justice
Our philosophical forefathers were espousing the precepts of community justice
in various forms from the outset of ancient philosophy implicitly to current threads of
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political philosophy in, at times, explicit advocacy. Aristotle claimed that humans are
interconnected in society and thus must work together for the greater good of society at
large. Each person has his or her respective role and that role cannot be separated from
the essence humanity. We must pursue virtuous lives and actions, therefore, through
interconnectivity and cooperation. Jeremy Bentham argued that punishment is only
permissible in society as long as it is to prevent some greater offense and if it leads to the
maximum happiness and utility. The utility of a community is based upon the
appropriateness of the sentence. And the sentence must fit the crime, and ultimately
fitting the crime requires taking external factors into consideration in order to most
adequately serve justice for the defendant as well as for the entire community. Finally,
John Rawls stated that in order to make the justice system equitable and fair, the same
opportunities and access to a more personalized form of justice must be made available to
all in society. Thus by pursuing the implementation of community justice, we are merely
acting on the ideals set forth long before community justices formalized inception. Being
responsive to the rich, revered tradition of political philosophy through the
implementation of community justice, is not only an effective way for executing justice,
but an obligation that researchers, criminologists and those with influence have to all
communities as well as fellow colleagues.
Cooperation and the Future of Sustainable Judicial Reform
However, this is no small task: the notion of reorienting the criminal justice field
and fostering cooperation among all sectors of this field. There is a problem in the
criminal justice system with intercommunication and cooperation as well as drawn-out
bureaucratic red tape and the revolving door of recidivists (Nolan, 2003). In short, there
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is a lot to repair. The starting place and keys not only to reduce recidivism and crime, but
also to create safer, more responsive communities, are that we in the criminal justice field
must work together to remove the institutional walls and increase our communication
with one another in order to work together for the good of our communities and citizens.
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Full Text

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POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY AND COMMUNITY JUSTICE: A CRITICAL INTERSECTION EXAMINED TO AID IN THE REDUCTION OF RECIDIVISM by PHILIP D. WAGGONER B.A., Colorado State University, 2011 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Administration School of Public Affairs 2013

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2013 PHILIP D. WAGGONER ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ii This thesis for the Master of Public Administration degree by Philip D. Waggoner has been approved for the Master of Public Administration Program by Paul Teske, Chair Callie Rennison Susan Opp October 24, 2013

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iii Waggoner, Philip (MPA, Master of Public Administration) Political Philosophy and Community Justice: A Critical Intersection Examined to Aid in the Reduction of Recidivism Thesis directed by Distinguished Professor Paul Teske ABSTRACT Political philosophy and criminal justice are fields which seemingly rarely mix. While criminal justice is largely focused on the notion of practical, empirical enforcement methods for creating a safer soci ety at large, politic al philosophy typically remains in the lofty realm of abstract thin king, virtually inaccessi ble to the lives of individual citizens. However, a thorough examination of pol itical philosophical thought reveals multiple and strong strands of criminal justice theory. Even strong hints of the relatively new notion of community justic e can be found interwoven throughout the entire tapestry of the political philosophical trad ition, from AristotleÂ’s Nicomachean Ethics to John RawlsÂ’s A Theory of Justice Why would such a relationship among traditionally disparate disciplines be wort h discovering and developing? This paper addresses that question by demonstrating that in order for communities across the world to accept and view the new notion of community justice as relevant, a framework that is historically rich and prac tically cogent, as well as academically sound, must be established in order to legitimize this new tr ajectory of executing justice in society. Thus, in order to reduce and prevent crime, dimi nish recidivism and create overall safer communities, a political philosophical approach to community justice must be pursued. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I reco mmend its publication. Approved: Paul Teske

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iv DEDICATION I dedicate this work to my bride, Becky.

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v ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my outstanding co mmittee for their guidance and expertise in revising, editing, advising on a nd approval of my thesis as th e final step in the Master of Public Administration degree program. I woul d also like to thank the School of Public Affairs and the Graduate School at the Univ ersity of Colorado, Denver. Additionally, I would like to thank Sean McCandless for his excellent revision and edits of my thesis. And finally, I would like to thank my wife Becky, for her tireless love, support and encouragement throughout the process.

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vi TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................1 What is Community Justice? .................................................................................3 Why is Community Justice Worth Pursuing? .......................................................6 II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................................................9 Disparate Realms of L iterature Explored ............................................................11 Political Philosophy ............................................................................................12 Community interaction ..............................................................................12 Punishments ...............................................................................................15 Equitable & accessible justice system .......................................................18 Justice: Therapeutic Jurispr udence & Restorative Justice ..................................21 Definitions, similariti es & differences .......................................................23 Community courts ......................................................................................25 Case study: The ERCC project ..................................................................27 Current state of literature & next steps ......................................................29 III. METHODOLOGY ..............................................................................................31 Information Utilized ............................................................................................31 Methodology .......................................................................................................32 Procedure & theory ....................................................................................34 Process .......................................................................................................36 Limitations & Assumptions ................................................................................36 IV. EMPIRICAL APPLIC ATION AND ANALYSIS ..............................................39

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vii East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC) .........................................40 Data overview ............................................................................................41 Analysis......................................................................................................43 Application .................................................................................................44 Comparison: Other Community Court Projects ..................................................44 Midtown .....................................................................................................45 Milliken ......................................................................................................46 San Francisco .............................................................................................48 Liverpool ....................................................................................................49 The Effectiveness of Community Cour t in Light of Political Philosophy ..........49 V. A SAMPLE POLICY MEMORANDUM ...........................................................52 Executive Summary ............................................................................................52 The Current Reality .............................................................................................53 Criteria .................................................................................................................54 Alternatives .........................................................................................................55 Projected Outcomes & Tradeoffs ........................................................................57 Recommendation & Discussion ..........................................................................58 Memo Appendix 1: Implementation Strategy .....................................................61 Memo Appendix 2: Evaluation Strategy .............................................................64 VI. CONCLUSION ...................................................................................................66 Community Court is Effectiv e at Reducing Recidivism .....................................66 An Intersection Worth Examining: Political Philosophy and Criminal Justice ..67 Cooperation and the Future of Sustainable Judicial Reform ...............................68

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viii REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................70

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ix LIST OF TABLES TABLE 4.1 – Intake Numbers of the ERCC Project .......................................................................42 4.2 – Milliken: Projected Outc ome vs. Empirical Outcome ..............................................47 5.1 – Implementation Strategy ...........................................................................................63

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION From Aristotle to Epicurus to Thom as Hobbes to John Rawls, political philosophers have challenged, inspired, and have often acted as interdisciplinary unifying agents between theory and pr actice. The early Greek philosophers began an enterprise that often focused on attempting to better understand humanity and the implications of actions on virtue, ethics and utility (Durant, 1991). Political philosophers have created, examined and expounded upon a multiplicity of abst ract concepts. Yet, the core of their investigations has been to understand the me ta-implications of hu man action on political behavior, social construction, mobility, and ev en tenets of how best to live (Duignan, 2011a).Specifically, for instance, such abstract concepts include Michel FoucaultÂ’s examination of madness and the definition of insanity as exemplified in and through society or Martin HeideggerÂ’s theory of the e ssence of true existen ce in a world of weak, traditional ontology (Foucault, 1988; Heidegger, Macquarrie, & Robinson, 1962). Inversely, criminal justice theory has traditio nally honed in on problems of safety within the law. There is a central difference between criminal justice and political theory. This difference lies in the application of theory. Criminal justice theory includes the widely accepted four forms of justice: procedural, distributive, corrective, and retributive (Posner, 1990, pp. 313-352). Inversely, political theory and philosophy delve into to the theoretical and historical underpinnings of why people act the way they do and what are the implications on political and social st ability (Hampton, 1997). Thus, given criminal justice theoryÂ’s practical fo ci and political philosophyÂ’s more abstract foci, these two disciplines, outwardly, do not interact frequently. However, narrowing the scope in this

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2 thesis from the broad discipline of political philosophy to specific works referencing and oriented around theories of justice and social cohesion, a new nuance of justice appears that is subtle, yet pervasive. Specific political philosophical traditions, especially those with implicit and explicit threads of criminal justice theory provide assistance in the justifications of this new, subtle form of justice: community justice. Community justice is premised on resp ect, responsibility, and cohesion through problem solving.1 Having been implemented and evaluated in select communities across the world, community justice is just beginning to sprout as a form of justice aimed at addressing crime at a low level2 in order to create more responsive citizens and safer communities. Philosophy informs society as the basis of law and policy. It is law and policy, which directly affect each person in society. In light of the inexorability of policy and the subsequent effect on the lives of comm unity members by creating values through deliberation, connectedness and investment in the community, philosophy therefore plays an integral role throughout society (F ishkin, 2009; Gutmann & Thompson, 2004). Thus, establishing that there is an undercurrent of community justice-related ideas within the field of political philosophy is helpful and wo rth pursuing. This is the case because this interdisciplinary relationship could pr ovide a solid foundation to establish the philosophical legitimacy of the concept of co mmunity justice as an innovative form of 1 For the purposes of this research, community courts are different than traditi onal problem-solving courts. While both courts take a similar approach to adjudication and sentencing methods, problem solving courts tend to be more issue specific (e.g. drug courts, domestic violence courts, etc.) while community courts deal with a wide range of offens es in a multiplicity of realms. 2 Low-level crime tends to be ambiguous given the jurisdictional differences between municipalities and local court systems across the world. Low-level in Ne w York looks drastically different than low-level crime in Milliken, Colorado. Thus for example, lowlevel crimes include, but are not limited to truancy, minor in possession, or even prostitution and select drug felonies in some jurisdictions (Center for Court Innovation, 2009; Milliken, 2011).

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3 justice worth deploying. Also, this relati onship provides a framework for crafting new and successful approaches to reduce recidivism secure public safet y, and create a safer environment one community at a time. The remainder of this chapter will intr oduce and operationalize community justice as an alternative to the traditional form of adjudicati on and then introduce and address the question pertaining to the relevance of the topic of this thesis in examining the intersection of politic al philosophy and community justice. What is Community Justice? The first community court began in 1993 as the Midtown Community Court in New York City. The court was formed to addr ess low level crimes in order to catch and stop crime at an early stage. This would, in theory, make communities safer in subsequent years (Center for Court Innovation, 2009). Beyond reducing crime, another goal of the first and future community courts was and is to provide restitution to the community in order to repair the harm done as a result of the offense and also to create an increased sense of citizenship and investme nt. This ideally reduces the likelihood of recidivists committing similar or other crimes in their community. This will be discussed in great depth in ensuing sections. Before proceeding further, establishing an operational definition of community justice and more specifically community courts is an appropriate starting point from which to launch into its judicial and administrative executi on. Community justice3 includes all parties who are stakeholders in th e citation and prosecution of minor criminal 3 Community Justice : Made up of Community Court and Community Policing. This thesis will focus on community court primarily. This conceptual definition has been adapted from the Town of MillikenÂ’s Community Court Policies and Procedures Manual.

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4 cases, including the defendant police officers, prosecutors, case managers, and judge (Center for Court Innovati on, n.d.; Milliken, 2011). The community court process specifically allows for meaningful involvement4 by the defendant. Meaningful involvement in determining the terms of th e deferred sentence or deferred prosecution agreement allows for the existence and perpetuation of an atmosphere in which respect is nurtured. Additionally, there is a focus on r easons why the defendant has committed the crime and what steps can be taken to prev ent it from reoccurring. As a result, if the defendant successfully completes all terms outlined in the mutually-acceptable agreement, the offense is dropped from the de fendantÂ’s record, thus allowing him or her to have no formal criminal record for the o ffense that led to his or her entry into the criminal justice system (Milliken, 2011). Essentially there are two key differen ces between a traditional court and a community court. These differences concern the judicial process and the goals of the court. Traditional court offers general, bl anket sentencing options as well as diversion programs outsourced to a prosecutor or distri ct attorney for minor offenses. However, community court offers tailored, defendant-f ocused sentencing options, with the judge presiding over and engaged in all aspects of the proceedings. Similarly, traditional court proceedings are quicker and often focused on docket-clearing whereby the prosecutor or District Attorney is the central actor through what I reference as, reactionary jurisprudence reactionem iurisprudentia Contradistinctively, co mmunity court allows for meaningful interaction and communication amongst all stakeholders in the crime, in 4 Meaningful Involvement : Addresses the active involvement by the defendant in the crafting of the sentencing terms, the defendantÂ’s time in the community justice system and the role the rehabilitated defendant plays in the community upon successful completion of his/her community justice sentence

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5 an effort to address the reasons behind th e crime, prevent recidivism, focus on the damage caused to the community, and the form the restoration process will take. This process I have dubbed, preventive jurisprudence praecaventur iurisprudentia While the practice of diversion is a comm on one in addressing juvenile and lowlevel crime in traditional courts, the diffe rence between diversion achieved through the court and diversion achieved outside of the court, is central to the community court process. Diversion for qualified, low-level cr ime cases adjudicated in a traditional court happens outside of the court. Diversion for qualified, low-level crime cases in community court is achieved through the court, utilizing the court as the most ideal resource to increase participant accountability from both the court as well as the defendant. As seen in community court, in-court diversion allows fo r the court to be able to act and/or react swiftly for reinforcers and sanctions (Ber man & Feinblatt, 2002; Center for Court Innovation, n.d.; Nolan, 2003). The fact that traditional court offers diversion options to qualified cases is a strong step in the right direction from a community justice perspective, given that the background and ex ternal factors pertai ning to the defendant and the crime committed are taken into account when crafting the diversion sentencingplan. This allows for the underlying motivati on, rather than the mere instance to be addressed in order to increas e the likelihood of avoiding futu re crimes of the same or greater magnitude. However, the difference of where diversion takes place and how it is monitored is the additional, crucial step taken by community court. Pursuing diversion programs through the court not only incr eases accountability a nd efficiency (as previously referenced) but also firmly roots the court in the central idea of community and interconnectivity amongst not only the stakeholders, but all community members.

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6 Traversing the adjudication process as a unit is vital to community court and its ultimate success and effectiveness. Why Is Community Justice Worth Pursuing? The justice system holds enormous power. Whether in traditional justice, court, or even mandatory minimums, justice in society was intended by philosophers, law-makers and adjudicators to be the great equalizer as seen in the writings of Aristotle, John Locke, and John Rawls (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1943; Locke, 1690/2004, Rawls, 1971). Therefore, with this power comes great responsibility: through both imp licit and explicit means, court sentencing affects not onl y the life of the offender but also the entire community. Given this power and responsibility therein, Thomas Hobbes is a useful voice in this discussion in light of his notion of supr eme power. Hobbes argued that the supreme power (e.g., court, the executive) holds significant influence. Extrapolating from this point, Hobbes’s “supreme power” in this case is the court. The influential power of the court is in the ability to levy a senten ce often based on the recommendation of the prosecutor (Hobbes, 1651/1994). This power lies in a judge’s authority to define the severity of a crime based upon the severity of the crime committed. For example, if the offense is prostitution, there can be a blanke t sentence option given to most cases of prostitution. Precedent arising out of rulings in previous prost itution cases establishes this sentence option. However, a court could le vy this option without regard for personal background, number of appearances before th e court, or socioec onomic status, thereby addressing the instance of prostitution. In this exampl e, the implication supported by Hobbes’s “supreme power”, is that the court is thusly declaring the crime of prostitution to be serious only insofar as it requires a gene ral sentence to address this instance, rather

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7 than the underlying problems leading to the instance (Hobbes, 1651/1994). In this example, the focus of the court is on the instance of prostitution rather than on coupling the factors contributi ng to the defendantÂ’s choice to commit the crime. The sentencing, therefore, is a temporary solution, rather th an a holistic approach based on underlying factors in an effort to prevent future occurrences of the crime. And it is this temporary solution that acts as a social construction, which reinforces the defendantÂ’s place in society as a criminal, thereby encouraging that pattern of behavior and ultimately resulting in a life of crime (Schneider & Ingram, 1997). Community justice broadly, and community court specifically addresses that issue, which is rampant in justice systems throughout the world today. Problems of prostitution and other low-level crimes ar e not the only social problems community justice is successful at addr essing. The problem of blanket se ntencing that does not fit the crime, such as in the previous prostituti on example, is also addressed by community justice, in an effort to prevent not only cr ime, but recidivism as well to create safer communities. But this concept of community justice is ne w, and very little is available regarding empirical proof of its perceived, theoretical effectiveness. As such, caution should be exercised when pursuing broad implementation of community justice. An example of hasty wide-spread reaction to a perceived yet untested criminal justice program is the infamous Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment (MDVE). Based on a seemingly positive result of a report on arrests and non-ar rests of domestic violence offenders in Minneapolis, the MDVE found that giving officers the latitude to make an arrest without warrant if a perceived domes tic violence offense had occurred would drastically reduce

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8 domestic violence crimes across the board (Buzawa & Buzawa, 1990). As a result of the positive veneer of this report from the Po lice Foundation, many states implemented the change in police practices (Sherman & Be rk, 1984). However, without regard for regional differences in crime trends, types of offenders and the flawed nature of the shortened study time period which likely skewed the results, the MDVE proved to be much less effective for several states that implemented it (Fagan, 1989). This is an apt example of hastily implementing a program l acking substantive, consistent empirical support. Therefore, applying this principle to community courts and their perceived fecundity aside, communities must proceed with caution when pursuing implementation. Also as learned from the MDVE, communities mu st take an individualized approach to the implementation of community court by craf ting a model that most ideally suits the needs, demographics and other regional differences in orde r to address crime on a local level effectively. Therefore, this thesis addresses the following questions pertaining to interconnectivity and relevan ce between the two disciplines of political philosophy and criminal justice: Is it relevant to examine the intersection of these two disciplines ? Why would such a relationship between traditionally disparate forms of disciplines be worth discovering and developing? Is community cour t effective at reduci ng recidivism? What are the implications for the criminal justice field? Chapter two focuses on the review of lit erature in several realms including two key legal theories supporting community justice known as rest orative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence. Also, political philosophy is expounded upon as a justification for community justice playing a key role in it s legitimization. Chapter three discusses the

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9 methodology represented in this thesis honing in on the primary use of an empirical case study on the East of the River Community Court (ERCC) project in Washington D.C. Chapter four unpacks the previously intr oduced ERCC case study with analysis and application. Building upon the su ccess of community justice as established and analyzed in the previous chapters, chap ter five advocates for the expansion of community court to a nationalized institution in th e form of a sample policy memo to President Obama. In this chapter, implementation and evaluation of a national community court system is introduced and discussed in depth. Finally, chap ter six concludes the thesis with a return to the political philosophical justification and legitimization of community justice.

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10 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Research suggests that community courts are effective in reducing crime and recidivism. The investment into the de fendants, victims and community provide substantive support and encouragement of safer, more responsive communities (Crawford, 1995; Dubow & Podolefsky, 1982 ; Hawkins et al., 1995). In spite of the research available to support the effectiveness of community courts, there is a substantial lack of peer-reviewed literature on the theo retical underpinnings of community courts, being therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice. This is the case, merely because of the newness of these theories, as well as that of community courts. Specifically therapeutic jurisprudence was conceptu alized circa 2000 by Dr. David Wexler; restorative justice was formalized as an e ffort to institutionalize peace in the 1970s; and the first community court was implemented as an alternative to traditional court in 1993 (Court Innovation, 2009; Immarigeon, 1996; Su ffolk University, 2012; Wexler, 2000). The review begins with a broad view of political philosophy beginning with some of the earliest writings from Aristotle to J ohn Rawls, relating to general concepts and ideals found in community justice. Then, the re view shifts to hone in explicitly on the two theories of justice underpinning community jus tice, known as therapeutic jurisprudence and restorative justice. These theories aid in the illu mination of the theme of community justice both explicitly and im plicitly throughout the tapestry of political and judicial philosophy and theory. This examination occurs through historical, theoretical and descriptive analyses (Braithwaite, 2002; Rottman & Casey, 1999; Wexler, 2000). Once the theoretical and ph ilosophical foundation is laid for community justice, in

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11 order to establish its empirical effectiveness as an alternative to traditional court, the final piece of literature to be examined is a case study. The East of the River Community Court project analysis provides an empirical look at the eff ectiveness of community court as currently implemented. The review br iefly transitions to a methodological and descriptive review of the implications these theories of justice have on the implementation of community courts. Finally, the review concludes with a discussion of the current state of the literatu re and how this research fits in the body of both justice and political theory as well as in the practical a pplication of alternative forms of adjudication. Disparate Realms of Literature Explored Over the past several decades, traditi onal juvenile justice and low level court systems and programs have often tended to ward isolating offenders by funneling them through a broad, general court which typically do es not take external factors into account when determining sentencing (Hawkins et al ., 1995). This isolation of juveniles and low level offenders leads to a phenomenon referred to as the “revolving door of recidivism” (Nolan, 2003). The criminal just ice system cannot continue down this path due, in part, to a variety of factors such as court sustainability, the goal of reduced crime rates and costs (Sherman et al., 1997). Fortunately, there is newly emerging res earch in the realm of a substantive alternative to this problem, through the mechanism of commu nity courts (Berman, 2000). These community courts are propped up on the implicit and explicit foundation comprised of jurisprudential and philos ophical theories which aid in justifying community courts as legitimate means whereby low-level crime is addressed (Karp & Clear, 2000).

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12 Political Philosophy While pragmatism and application are vital pieces to the implementation of community justice, just as necessary for its legitimization is the political theory which buttresses and undergirds most notions of ju stice known in the world today. This section examines the body of political philosophical literature to de termine trends of community justice specifically and justice5 more broadly. The literatur e suggests that community interaction is inevitable and necessary in creating responsive citizens; that punishments must be tailored to the fit the crime committed; and also that the justice system must be made equitable, fair and easily accessible if the success of the defendants, victims and community as a whole is to be ensured (Bentham, 1843; Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999; Rawls, 1971). The section is organized through examining political philosophy focused around these three key themes, which are vital to the theoretical and practical application of community justice. Community interaction. Communities play an activ e role in the adjudication process. Whether or not the results are e ffective depends not only on indicators of effectiveness, but also on the community a nd the stakeholders invol ved (Barzilai, 2003). Additionally, the community interaction aspect is vital to community justice, because when one is invested in and encouraged as an active member within society, one is less likely to commit a crime or act against his or her given community. This phenomenon is 5 As a point of clarification, while there are many forms of justice in philosophy, the form of justice discussed throughout this paper remains in the realm of restorative justice. There are other philosophical nuances of justice coupled with restorative justice in cluding consequentialism in that justice is forward looking with a focus on maximizing ideal social benefits for broader society (Bayles (Ed.), 1968). Additionally, there is a strong undercurrent of utilitari anism, yet with a more specified view focusing on crime reduction, and the moral worth of an action as determined by its outcome (Mill, 1863/1991; Bentham, 1843).

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13 known as the good-soldier syndrome (Podsakoff et al., 1997). Thus, an exploration of the ideal community engagement on a broad level within the political philosophical tradition is worth developing. Aristotle’s famous piece Nicomachean Ethics was a crusader in the literature of political theory, being the first time in the we stern world that the term “ethics” was used as theory as well as praxis. Ar istotle characteristically stays in the abstract throughout this piece, yet provides uncannily pragmatic prac tices. Specifically he wrote, “Then do the carpenter and the leatherworke r have their functions and actions, while a human being has none, and is by nature idle, without any func tion? Or, just as eye, hand, foot and, in general, every part apparently has its f unctions, may we likewise ascribe to a human being some function besides all thei rs?” (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999, pp. 99-112) Through this, Aristotle is highlighting huma ns’ roles in society, by pondering the ideal that a human’s role is for the broader c onsequence of society. One’s role cannot be separated from one’s humanity. Through examini ng the alternative that a human’s roles is merely self-benefitting only within societ y, Aristotle concludes throughout the chapter that humans impact humans en masse based on daily interacti on, natural occurrences and results of actions done (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Essentially, Aristotle was underscoring a central idea in community ju stice in that community interaction is inevitable and will never cease, based on the fact that humans live together. In addition to the minimization of ha rm caused to one’s self, Epicurus, a prominent philosopher of the axial age, commu nity and living in unity with one another (Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. origina l; Meister, 2009). While little of his writing remains, these two important aspects of hi s philosophy (mostly craf ted and survived by

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14 the Epicurean School) are foundational philos ophical principles underpinning community justice (Duignan, 2011). Specifically the minimizati on of harm to one’s self is seen in the proactive approach to sentencing of defendant s in order to minimize future crimes of greater consequence (Epicurus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original). As a result, all citizens and defendants benefit through safer comm unities with minimal amounts of harm through crime and recidivism (Malkin, 2003) And additionally, Epicurus’ notion of societal peace and harmony come from being engaged in one another’s lives is seen through the sentencing options in addition to the pursuit of broade r community cohesion through a focus on minor offense reduction (Epi curus, 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original). Addressing and stopping the problem of crim inal behavior at an early stage through preventative measures benefits all stakeholders in the crime, including the community at large, thereby increasing th e peace and harmony of the given community (Center for Court Innovation, n.d.; Epicurus 1994: circa 300 B.C.E. original; Fagan & Malkin, 2003). Immanuel Kant was another important pol itical philosopher in the realms of morals, ethics and community interaction. While he wrote widely on these and other topics, a small piece in his famous piece, Groundwork for the Me taphysics of Morals regarding the inevitable community interac tion is unpacked here. Specifically, Kant praised the interaction between many member s within a community as the driver behind ultimate community cohesion and success. “Jacks-of-all-trades” leads to barbarism (Kant, 1785/2005, pp. 1-4). Most notably that each person performing his or her given task (or trade ) in society is the oil with which the mach ine of productivity in and success are able to flourish (Kant, 1785/2005). He goes on to po int to the ultimate goal of reason-guided

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15 tasks as the definition of virtue. Thus, while arriving at a different conclusion, Kant’s focus on community interaction as central to societal function and success is an important attribute present in the underpinnings of the process of community court. An additional important piece of successful community justice and of all forms of justice is that the arbiter or judge needs impa rtiality in order to effectively sentence and cast judgment (Konow, 2003). Esse ntially, justice needs to have the defendant or offender’s best interest at th e center of sentence crafting and adjudication more broadly (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Thompson, 2002). This aids in helping the offender to feel more “taken care of” of the justice system in a way that encourages success as an active, equal member in society. The notion that the crime, while wrong and punishable, does not define the defendant is crucial to community justice (Malkin, 2003). Punishments The critique of unmet punishment or, “justice-li ght” is a common one against community justice. Jeremy Be ntham, who had a great influence on John Stuart Mill in his account and formulation of Utilitarianism shed light on philosophical justification for punishment in response to criminal behavior, apart from the strictly physical (Wilson, 2012). In Bentham’s treatise, The Principles of Morals and Legislation he claimed that, “The general object which all laws ha ve, or ought to have, in common, is to augment the total happiness of the commun ity; and therefore, in the first place, to exclude, as far as may be, everything that tends to subtract from that happiness: in other words, to exclude misc hief. But all punishmen t is mischief: all punishment in itself is evil. Upon the principle of utility if it ought at all to be

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16 admitted, it ought only to be adm itted in as far as it promises to exclude some greater evil (Bentham, 1843, p. 178). Bentham was arguing that punishment is evil in itself. However, it is permissible if it prevents further evil, such as offenses or crimes, from happening in order to reduce recidivism, thereby maximizing the happiness an d utility of the community as a whole. Building upon Bentham’s util itarian approach to the ju stification of punishments, Thomas Hobbes is another political philosophe r who advanced ideals pertaining to the appropriateness of punishments commensurate with crimes committed (Hobbes, 1651/1994). Though Hobbes’ philoso phy typically is known for harsh critiques on human judgment, it is this facet of his philosophy that is actually seen in community justice in a more implicit way. Specifically, his notions of the “poverty of huma n judgment” point to the need for a multiplicity of counselors a nd judges. Though Hobbes specifically points to science or logic as the judge to “right” this “wrong” of human judgment, the principle of the necessity for several perspectives to balance the singular human view, is a central tenet of community court (Hobbes, 1651/1994) Thus, the very premise of community court is the collective action of the many stake holders in the justice system as well as in the community coming around the defendant and vi ctim to ensure successful restoration and reintegration. Additionally, according to Hobbes, the very violation of the law is a crime. He then notes that crime requires a penalty with a level of severity matching that of the crime committed in order to validate the legitimacy of the supreme powers (i.e. the government) (Hobbes, 1651/1994). The need to legitimize the government, or the

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17 supreme powers, is a central undercurrent with in both this research as well as in the expansion of community justice. The crux of Bentham’s and Hobbes’ views on punishments reveals a prime reality that is not often present in modern mi sdemeanor adjudication. While the notion of punishments fitting the crimes is more rout inely applied in cases involving major offenses and felonies, the vitality of this modus operandi in senten cing cannot be absent from adjudication in cases dealing with mi nor offenses and misdemeanors (Sherman et al., 1997). Defendants with minor offenses are in vulnerable positions given their lower level of offense. They are confronted with ei ther a life of crime or a life free from crime. If their sentences are intentional, addressi ng underlying issues of their crimes with a focus on their reintegration into the commun ity, they are less likely to reoffend (Fagan and Malkin, 2003). This creates not only safe r communities with less crime, but citizens in the community who are invested and engage d due to the intentional sentences designed to address their social realities as well as their criminal behavior (Indianapolis Community Court, 2013; Nolan, 2003). From a more abstract applicati on, a central theme throughout Hume’s Essays, Moral and Political and Literary is that all things known (“ things of matter”) are found through cause and effect (Hume, 1758/1986). Thus, extrapolating this principle, punishments not only should fit the crimes committed appropriately, but rather must Due to the reality that cause and e ffect drives the logos, or what we know and derive from life in a sensory capacity, we must then respect its power, by encouraging the most ideal outcome (lack of recidivism or reoffending from a criminal) possible (Hume, 1758/1986). If matter is premised upon cause and effect, a nd likewise recidivism is premised, in large

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18 part, upon general sentences that fail to addr ess reasons behind the crime and aid in the rehabilitation of the defendant, then the just ice system is failing to accomplish its primary goal. However, on the positive side of this notion, there is great fr eedom in the reality that if the justice system can tap into the proper sentences for addressing root causes of crime (cause), then the ideal projected outcome becomes s lightly less ethereal, and far more practical in the reduction of the reoccu rrence of similar crimes by the same offender (effect). With a strong utilitarian approach to punishment being central to the idea of community justice broadly and of community court specifically, it nonetheless receives critiques. One common critique against it comes in the form of an opposing theory of justice: retributive justice, or retributivism. This theory essentially claims that only those who are guilty or commit a crime should re ceive punishment essentially in a vacuum, without regard to the overall welfare (Nozick, 1981). Essentia lly, retributivism is focused solely on the ramifications to a crime commensu rate with the severity of the given crime. However, while retributivism is partially present in community court punishments, it nonetheless nullifies the other vital piece of sentencing cons iderations, being the heavy focus on the entire community, rather than so lely the offender and the crime. In response to the seeming impartiality to the crime, of fender and subsequent sentence claimed by a retributivist, is that it is merely a fo rm of punishment akin to vengeance and malice (Honderich, 1969). Equitable & accessible justice system. Beyond claiming that “[Justice is] a first virtue of social institutions,” John Rawls asserts that liberty (basic rights such as having a home, food, etc…) and equality (equal opportunities amongst al l) are presented in order

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19 to reveal his notion of the ultimate fair meas ure of justice in society. Rawls claims in his magnum opus, A Theory of Justice that these two essentia l provisions – liberty and equality – cannot be absent from the jus tice system in place. They are ordered to highlight that liberty is paramount in enco mpassing the inalienable rights of the citizen. Beyond that however, Rawls’s focus turns to th e utter importance of providing a personal approach to justice (and implicitly executing justice) in societ y through ensuring equal access to the justice system in a way that en courages success as an active member within the society (Rawls, 1971). Rawls, belonging to th e social contract ethi cists, provides that equal opportunities are not first granted ba sed on merit alone, but rather that the opportunities be made equally and r eadily available for al l to at least be able to attempt to enter successfully into the fa bric of larger society (R awls, 1971). In the community justice application, this notion of equal opportunities and leve ling the playing field for the offender to rehabilitate and restore the harm done as a result of the offense committed to the community in which the offender belongs, th ereby allowing the offender to be able to reintegrate into his or her soci ety stronger, is ubiquitous. In light of the accessibility of a more personal form of justice, the administrative and judicial process requires exposition. Thus, sacrificial action is a core concept of empathy. The act of making sacrifices by one fo r another is what makes social existence possible (Hoffman, 2000). This act of sacrifice through administrative and empathetic energy through judicial process is vital to community court in practice and the community justice concept abstractly. Extrapol ating Hoffman’s research on consequence, empathy, reward and “prosocial moral devel opment”, a community justice approach must be marked first by mere availability on a pers onal level to those ente ring it and also must

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20 be actively engaged in the life of the offender in order to pr event further, more serious crimes from occurring (Hoffman, 2000). Taking a step back further into abstraction, in his book, Enquiries concerning human understanding and concerning the principles of morals David Hume presents a portrait of a theoretical worl d in which nature provides everything necessary that man requires. While seemingly ideal, Hume posits th at in such a world th ere would be no such thing a justice, because there would be no claim to property or personal belonging, because everything just is. As such, in regard to the need for a justice system, if there are no laws based on no claims to anything, then there would certainly be no need for a justice system. And this while seemingly s o, Hume concludes, is not an ideal world (Hume, 1777/1975). Therefore by implication, Hume underscores the need for an equitable justice system, given that we do not live in such a world. In the world in which we live, he captures the underpinning purpos e of the community justice system through his section subtitle “public utility is the sole origin of justice” (Hume, 1777/1975, Sec. III On Justice Sub.145). Thus, for Hume, the very natu re of justice is comprised of the utility and action of people operating within it. In community justice, and community court specifically, the senten ces crafted for defendants are crafted in an effort to maximize their utility in thei r community. It is this util ity and action within their community as a result, which defines their plac e in the community as well as the worth of the system of justice invoking the sentence. Additionally, in this piece to further illu minate his central point on justice, Hume goes on to note that in another fictitious soci ety in which the central authority was overly magnanimous, then this too would void justice and the need for a proper system in which

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21 equitable adjudication was necessary (Hume, 1777/1975). Therefore, the strength of a justice system that relies on severe and intentional punishments, yet through means by which said punishment intentionally addresse s the crime in the best interest of the defendant rather than a blanketsentence approach, is the ideal sy stem of justice. In such a system of justice, all parties win: the defe ndant in having the opportunity to successful reintegrate into his or her community; the ju stice system having efficiently addressed the low level crime in an effort to reduce or eliminate the potential of future more serious crimes; and the community as a whole for having a justice system that encourages cohesion through interaction and restoration of both the victims as well as the defendants (Berman, 2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Malkin, 2003; Nolan, 2003). Justice: Therapeutic Jurisprudence & Restorative Justice If injustice is a lack of law and fairne ss, then justice must be fairness and lawfulness. Justice must be implemented primar ily in an effort to correct the ills and unfairness and lawlessness as seen in so ciety (Aristotle, 350 B. C.E./1999). Beginning with this notion that justice plays a role in the balancing of the proverbial scale, an appropriate view of specific nuances, trends and sub-theori es of justice can be more uniquely understood. This section details the literature on the two theories of justice explored in this research project – therapeu tic jurisprudence and re storative justice. The literature suggests that there is a benefit to th e sustainability of the court when adequate theory is buttressing it through thorough co mparing and contrasting (Nolan, 2001, Nolan, 2003; Thompson, 2002). Additionall y, the literature points to a heavy emphasis on the centrality of both victim and defendant (D orf & Fagan, 2003) and wh at the restoration

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22 and reintegration processes looks for bot h (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Nolan 2003). Research also points out the role and affect the community has on the process, being a large constituency, by default, of crim e (Dubow & Podolefsky, 1982; Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Hawkins, 1995). After examining complementary attributes of each theory in relation to one another, they tend to diverge in motivation for the given course of action (Braithwaite, 2002; Nolan, 2003; Rottman & Casey, 1999). For example, restorativ e justice tends to focus heavily on the rehabilitation of the defenda nt in conjunction with the restoration of the victim and community, while therapeutic jurisprudence has a wider lens taking all aspects of the defendant into account for re habilitation, but additionally exploring what reintegration into society will look like (Nolan, 2003). The comparing and contrasting of therapeu tic jurisprudence and restorative justice have carried on this tradition within justice th eory, in order to reveal ideal attributes of both theories to provide a legitimate a nd appropriate foundation on which community courts can be established and flourish (B raithwaite, 2002; Nolan, 2003). According to justice literature and community court resear ch, there is a problem with the “revolving door of recidivism” of juveniles and low level offenders (Dorf & Fagan, 2003; Nolan, 2003). Offenders are not being adequately focu sed on and the terms of the sentences for the given crime is generalized and standard ized, and disengages the defendant from the community thereby opening the door to repeat offenses (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Lee, 2000; Nolan 2003). Thus, research also points to ward alternatives to these traditional forms of justice that do little to nothing to curtail crime at the low level, suggesting the pursuit of the implementation of a new form of justice with new theories undergirding

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23 them in order to more effectively address low level crime in an effort to prevent recidivism and future crimes from oc curring (Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Thompson, 2002). The central trend in the literature, which could be referred to as “option-seeking”, is clearly evident in these two competing theories of justice through looking at all stakeholders in a given crime and taking into account the defendant and how he or she is to rehabilitate and reintegr ate into society (F agan & Malkin, 2003; Nolan 2003). Also, the notion of restoration as a result of the crime, being a central tenet in sentencing options, is a new trend, most clearly repr esented in restorative justice (Braithwaite, 2002), but also a foundational piece in therapeutic jurisprude nce (Crawford, 1995; Hawkins et al., 1995; Rottman & Casey; 1999; Wexler, 2000). Both th eories of justice in clude heavy focus on the victim in the crime and what the rela tionship victim and the defendant, as the restoration process progresses (Braithwaite, 200 2). An example of re storative justice in practice could be the meeting of the in carcerated defendant and the victim (or a representative of the victim) to order to pursue closur e, cohesion, respect and civility (Dukakis, 2011). Definition, similarities & differences Restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence are two relatively new forms of justice, especially in comparison to Aristotle’s notion of justice as virtue ci rca 350 BCE (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Thus, why would an examination of these forms of justice be worth developing? The simple answer is that, in order to better understand community c ourts and ultimately how to decrease crime and recidivism in society, ther e is a need to start with an appropriate theoretical examination, in or der to understand the implemen tation of said courts. Thus,

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24 unpacking these two theories lend legitimacy to the notion of the broad, new alternative to traditional court systems, in the form of community courts. Restorative justice is the form of justi ce focusing heavily on th e rehabilitation of both the victim and the offender in the give n crime (Morris et al., 2001). The reason for this focus is to approach the adjudication of the crime in a more holistic form, in order to determine reasons why the offender has o ffended and the steps required preventing it from reoccurring. The latter half of this definition is a central tenet of community court (a type of problem solving court). In commun ity court, the court team, made up of the judge, case manager, defendant, police officer an d prosecutor, all work together to focus on behavioral causes of the crime committed and what the restoration process will look like for all stakeholders in the given crime. This notion of restoration for those involved is a key aspect of restorative justice as we ll as firmly embedded within the foundation of the modus operandi of community courts (N olan, 2003). Where traditional courts take into account the criminal record of the offe nder, they tend to focus more heavily on the offense before the court at the moment of arraignment, and determine sentencing based on the momentary information (Marrus, 2003). Thus, blanket sentencing, including fine and/or jail sentence, is typically the result. Similarly, therapeutic jurisprudence focu ses heavily on the victim, offender and the community as a whole during the adjudi cation process. David WexlerÂ’s notion of Therapeutic Jurisprudence is the inters ection of psychological examination and philosophical interpretation. Honing in on the why of the crime and of the outcome of the analysis allows for a platform from which to determine effective sentencing (Casey & Rottman, 2000; Wexler, 2000). The central di fference between these theories though, is

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25 in the realm of post-adjudi cation. In addition to the se ntencing process nuanced differences in having a heavier psychological focus than restorative justice, there is another, more crucial difference between th ese two theories. Where restorative justice focuses on both offender and victim during the adjudication process, therapeutic jurisprudence includes an in tentional focus on reintegrati on of the offender back into his/her community for the sake of creating more responsive, responsible and invested citizens (Nolan, 2003; Wexler, 2001). The notion of creating and encouraging invested citizens is central to reducing recidivism and crime under commun ity courts, in that if the defendant feels more a part of his/her community and has the resources and skills necessary to reenter into the fabric of larg er society successfully, then there is a great likelihood and empirical backing (to be discusse d in future sections) that the recidivism and reoffending rate will decrease (F agan & Malkin, 2003; Westat, 2012). Without these core theoretical tene ts comprising the foundation of the implementation and success of community courts, any further examination into community courts is impossible. Therefore, the implications on the implementation of these courts are unavoidable and must be the starting place to realizing their ultimate success. Community courts. This section details literature on community courts. Overall, the literature suggests community courts are an ideal a lternative to tr aditional courts because they take into account the whole pict ure, including the defendant and associated behavioral issues (Nolan 2003; Westat, 2012; We xler 2000). Also, the literature suggests that community courts are more beneficial to the defendant as well as the victim, because they focus heavily on restoration during the pr ocess and reintegration after the process of

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26 being in the criminal justice system (Kar p & Clear, 2000; Lee, 2000; Rottman & Casey, 1999; Thompson; 2002). Finally, re search shows that community courts are empirically effective in the bringing down of recidivism and reoffending rates of minor criminal and juvenile offenders (Malangone, 2012; Westat, 2012). Community courts are new alternatives to traditional courts, designed to be issue specific and provide a holistic approach to rehabilitating both the defendant and the victim in a crime, as well as on reintegrati on of the defendant in the community (Berman 2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Kelling, 1992; Kurki, 1999; Malkin, 2003). It is important to note that there are different foci between the varying types of problem solving courts (Dorf & Fagan, 2003). Specifi cally, there are mental health courts, domestic violence courts, drug courts and co mmunity courts. While each type of court offers different services based on the differing foci (Nolan, 2003), a commonality between all of these courts is the theoretical foundation and presence of restorative justice and therapeutic jurisprudence (Fagan & Ma lkin, 2003; Karp & Clear, 2000; Rottman & Casey, 1999). An additional difference between traditional court and community courts is a sentencing stipulation known as diversi on (Hawkins, 1995; Lee, 2000; Malkin, 2003). While diversion is available in traditional and community courts whereby, the defendant has stipulations to complete and given su ccessful completion, the distinction is that diversion in community court is achieved through the court wh ile diversion in traditional court is outsourced to a prosecutor or district attorney (Karp & Clear, 2000). Similar to therapeutic jurisprudence and rest orative justice theory to an extent, the literature on community courts is young and full of gaps. Nonetheless, there is substantial

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27 research beginning to propagate (Nolan, 2003). This new altern ative to traditional courts through involving the community in the adjudica tion process in order to restore the harm done as a result of the “quality-of-life” offe nse by the defendant, to the victim and community as a whole (Fagan & Malkin, 2003; Knight, 2007). Research reinforces the need to shift the focus away from traditi onal court and sentencing options and hone in on what the restoration, rehabilitation and rein tegration (Berman, 2000; Kurki, 1999; Nolan, 2001). Therefore, in light of the trends in the research and the realization of the problems facing the justice system, community courts pr ovide useful alternativ es to addressing key issues and behavioral problems behind the criminal (M2 Communi cations, 2006) as well as the crime committed, seeking restoration and reintegration (Kur ki, 1999). Community courts specifically and community courts in ge neral, have continually shown to be highly effective (Westat, 2012) in re ducing crime and recidivism in the communities in which they are implemented across the world (Indian apolis Community Court, 2013; see also Knight, 2007; McMartin, 2008). Case study: The ERCC project. This section explores the effectiveness of an implemented community court. The central finding is that community court is highly effective in reducing crime and recidivism of low-level offenders (Westat, 2012). The r esearch suggests that regardless of the si ze of a community, the community court model is transferrable in that it is effective in reducing crime a nd recidivism (Westat, 2012). In light of the limited amount of data analysis illuminating the effectiveness of community courts, its empirical legitimiza tion is thin, ye t convincing.

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28 A methodological and descriptiv e case study is used in this paper to explore the empirical reality of community courts through program evaluation, as they are implemented in society. The central findings are that community court is an effective alternative model of adjudi cation through reducing crime a nd recidivism rates among misdemeanor and juvenile offenders (Fagan & Malkin 2003; Westat, 2012). Thus, given a facet of the research goal being the dete rmination of the effectiveness of community courtsÂ’ implementation, data analysis of crime and recidivism rates is a primary form of text examined. Relying on sele cted peer-reviewed journals insofar as they support the theoretical foundations of community cour t and its empirical implementation and evaluation, is also be critical in assessing the effectiven ess of community court. More established community courts have more data and experience in the realms of sentencing creativity, diversion program creation and trouble shooting experience aimed at working out kinks which arise al ong the way (Fletcher, 2004; Lee, 2000). This length of time and subsequentl y, increased effectiveness and efficiency as a result is a luxury that younger community courts do not always get to enjoy (Lee, 2000; Thompson, 2002). However, community courts are effec tive regardless of length of implementation or multiplicity of programs available to defendants based on the motivation of the court, which is to responsive, invested citizens accountable to the community and vice versa (Berman, Feinblatt & Glazer, 2005). The Washington D.C. East of the Rive r (ERCC) community court project is a formal version of a problem solving court th at has been highly effective, based on the empirical analysis of its community court, compiled, produced and analyzed by Westat Inc. (Westat, 2012). The ERCC provides some of the first empiri cal evidence of the

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29 effectiveness of an implemented comm unity court (Malangone, 2012). The ERCC lowered crime and recidivism rates and produc ed successful defendants who are half as likely to reoffend when compared with those in similar catchment areas with no community court model (Westat, 2012). There is a specific examination of the empirical outcomes shown in the Westat report of the ERCC in the future Case Study section. Current state of literature & next steps. The literature has demonstrated the potential for a causal link between these theo ries of justice in providing the foundation for community courts when implemented in society and the creat ion of safer more responsive communities and thus facilitati ng community cohesion through restoration, rehabilitation and reinte gration (Karp & Clear, 2000; Kelling, 1992; Nolan, 2001). Therefore, it continues to be clear that comm unity courts are highly effective regardless of the size or location of the community (I ndianapolis Community Court, 2013; see also McMartin, 2008;Westat, 2012). In the current literature, t here are gaps based on the reality of the newness of both the theories of justice as well as the comm unity courts. These have simply not been around long enough to receive a litany of both criticism and praise that add to the legitimacy or illegitimacy of eac h. This research paper contribut es to filling the gap in the research, by linking theory to the implementation of the cour ts to the policy process. While the research available as evalua ted on community courts today is thorough, whether a full length analysis or preliminary da ta measuring early effectiveness, the lack of a multiplicity of analyses and reports on community courts across the world causes the thinness of the current body of empirical literature on community courts. This is the case because the courts are simply new and only roughly 36 have been implemented (Burack,

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30 2011; Nolan, 2003). The justification and subsequent im portance of this research is to provide a strong empirical framework with the data available illuminating the effectiveness of community courts, in order to encourage further implementation of them around the world. Thus, examining the implemen tation and evaluation are central to this research goal and comprises the remainder of this paper. The importance of this research is clear: providing a theoretical and policy framework for the relatively new alternat ives to traditiona l courts through the implementation of community courts increases an appreciation for these community courts in being avenues to creating sa fer communities made up of thoughtful and responsive citizens (Berman, 2000; Berman & Feinblatt, 2002; Hawkins et al., 1995; Nolan, 2001).

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31 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY Community court is new form of adjudicat ion that focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of defendants and victims (Lee, 2000). These courts are the judicial wing of the broader, new concept of co mmunity justice. The modus operandi of community court is focusing on the impact to an d from the community as a player in the restoration process of all stakeholders in the crime. The community portion of community court is bifurcated in that de fendants in particular are inve sted through two goals: so that they may in turn invest in their community a nd that the community plays an active role in the shaping of its citi zens. For example, the defendant hones skills as a part of his/her sentencing that can be used in the community upon successful completion of the program (Milliken, 2011). Information Utilized The ERCC project, as has been referenced previously, is a community court recently implemented in the Washington D.C. police di stricts 1 through 7 for minor offenses. The aim of the need for and implementation of community court was to address and stop crime at a lower level in an attempt to reduce larger, more serious crimes in the future through seasoned criminals and recidivism. Th e most frequently occurring problems and subsequent charges for defendants in the E RCC were misdemeanor drug charges (Westat, 2012). Additionally, about 72% of defendants en tering the ERCC had a prior case history with the D.C. superior court and of those, the amount of prior cases ranged from 0 to 51 per defendant (Westat, 2012).

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32 Methodology Demarcating and thus appreciating the unde rcurrent of community justice within the tradition of political ph ilosophy and using that linkage to legitimize this new trajectory of justice, requires a mixed-methods approach. This pursuit is valid because the longstanding, respected nature of the di scipline of political philosophy provides additional support for the inversely and rela tively young concept of community justice. Regardless of the quality of the empirical da ta available on community justice discussed in this paper, an additional form of legitimization will prove useful in offering further support for community justice, thereby enc ouraging its perpetua tion. Given the broad scope of philosophical writing pertaining to ju stice or community theory coupled with the nuanced adjudication method and judicial th eory embedding within community justice, the variety of methods used in this project are mixed. The three methodologies utilized throughout the project are un packed in this chapter: historical, qualitativ e and quantitative. The histor ical methodology is peppered throughout with a heavier discussion in the pr evious chapter reviewi ng the literature. An historical perspective of the political philosophy, which undergirds most notions of justice and specifically that of community justice, is the abstract adhesive binding together the discussion and pr ocess throughout this project. W ithout an appropriate view of the implicit and explicit trends of community justice-oriented theory firmly established, any attempt to further expound upon such ideals in an effort to move community justice from abstraction to pr actical implementation would be futile. Quantitative methods prove to be meaningful tools to exemplify the effectiveness, or any desired outcome, of many forms of research projects. The usefulness of

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33 empirically supporting claims of effectiveness diminishes inevitable biases in qualitative exposition and analysis. Notably in this project, the effectiven ess of community justice in reducing recidivism among lo w level offenders is shown through a quantitative look at the rates of reoffending in several case studies The reduction of recidi vism is the key to demonstrating the effectiveness of formally implemented community courts in society. The primary quantitative analysis is in the following chapter on the East of the River Community Court (ERCC) project in the Washi ngton D.C. area. This analysis examines the recidivism and crime statistics in order to strengthen the justif ication of community court as a practical means by which comm unities across the world can be safer. Finally, a qualitative methodology provi des an appropriate framework through which to view the effectiveness of commun ity justice beyond quantitative analysis and discussion. Specifically, the qualitative as pects of community court are espoused throughout the paper as the undercurrent of successful adjudication, similar to the abstract application of the historic al methodology. The qualitative methodology, for example, examines the sentencing options provided to defendants and extrapolate the subsequent feeling of inclusion and thus the cr eation of an invested, responsive citizen in the defendant. A mixed-methods approach can be highly va luable in helping to better understand certain complexities of problems in which a strict qualitative or quantitative approach would be more limited (Mason, 2006). The ab ility to approach a problem or set of variables from a variety of angles, or methods, is useful in navigating the research process and leading to significant discove ry and analysis (De Lisle, 2011).

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34 Procedure & theory. The relationship between the longstanding tradition of political philosophy and the relatively new con cepts of community justice, policing and court systems create a framework for ne w community justice paradigms by which communities can more effectively execute just ice, reduce recidivism, and create overall safer communities. In order to examine and show the effectiveness of community court specifically, in reducing recidivism and cr ime rates in society amongst misdemeanor defendants, there is a series of arguments to be made. First, a political philosophical framework is useful in offering qualitative support beyond a strict reliance on empirical evidence as justification for the relatively new concept of community justice. The applic ation of this framework provides academic support of community courtÂ’s proposed expa nded implementation. Ostensibly, given the wide, lengthy acceptance of the discipline of political philosophy, establishing the reality of community justice concepts embedded within it lends legitimacy to community justice through the lens of political philosophy. The second step in legitimizing community justice and court is through the review of classical to modern politic al philosophy literature. Essentia lly this project argues for a shift in the entire criminal justice and court processes for minor and misdemeanor offenses. This radical administ rative and judicial shift requires legitimacy in order to catch on quicker and more efficiently for the sake of safer communities and more responsive, invested citizens, as well as a more efficient judicial system, which goes beyond docket clearing, mandatory minimums and seemingly de facto incarceration. While the implementation of community justic e is a relatively new concept, its roots go

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35 much deeper and are woven into the very fabric of society, philosophy and ultimately governance as a whole. Third to be posited is that in order to have safer communities and reduce crime and recidivism, community justice is the ideal form of justice to implement to more effectively and efficiently address and stop crim e at a lower level, thereby decreasing the likelihood of graver crimes in the future. Th is step is crucial to the procedure of illuminating the empirical effectiveness of this form of justice. The effectiveness is measured in following chapters by examin ing a central case study in the Washington D.C. area, the East of the River Community Court project (ERCC). This case study is the selected primary case study for illuminating community courtÂ’s success due to the fact that it is the first statistical analysis of any community court in the world and also that the community court is comprised of seven, highl y criminally populated areas. This second attribute of the ERCC leading to its selecti on as the primary case study is integral in showing that community justice and court are not effective in small municipalities or districts with minimal crime. Rather, community court is highly effective in some of the most criminally populated regions of the c ountry, and therefore it is suitable for both large and small communities through effectivel y lowering crime and recidivism rates, thereby creating safer communities. Finally, as referenced in th e introduction, the link is esta blished that in order to reduce and prevent crime, diminish the number of recidivists in societ y and create overall safer communities throughout th e world, a political philosophi cal approach to community justice must be undertaken.

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36 Process The intended process of the project is as follows: first, establish that there is a need to legitimize this new traject ory of justice in soci ety and that political philosophy is the chosen method through which this is accomplished; second, given the need for legitimacy through political philo sophy, a review of broad concepts from classical to modern philosophy takes place; third, in order to show the empirical effectiveness of an implemented community court, a primary case study on the ERCC is examined, thus revealing community courtÂ’s effectiveness in adj udicating minor and low level crime; finally, the project is brought full circle in establ ishing that in order to have safer communities and reduced recidivism and crime rates, a political philosophical approach to community jus tice must be undertaken. Limitations & Assumptions A key limitation is the fact that community justice is so new with the first formal community court implemented in 1993 in Ne w YorkÂ’s Midtown region. Therefore the canon pertaining to explicitly community-jus tice-oriented theory and research is somewhat limited. An additional limitation is that in community justice in its current-day form is not explicitly mentioned in political philosophy. This is the case because all of the classical philosophy and most of the modern philosophy examples and theories drawn upon as support for community justice are mere extrapolations of similar ideals, rather than the overt philosophical espousing of community justi ce. Therefore, with this limitation the subsequent limitation of critique and rebuttal is realistic from those who may interpret certain pieces of philosophy dr awn upon in this project, differently, often with rather differing conclusions. The majority of the limitations and assumptions

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37 embedded throughout this project lie in the historical methodology in examining political philosophy, rather than the remaining two quantitative and qualitative methods. For example, in Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan he notes that humans are evil and depraved and therefore requiring oversight from a higher authority made up, through interpretation at points, a collective, is an exemplary text in this discussion on philosophical justification for community justice (Hobbes, 1651/1994). However, this could be interpreted, in that given the depravity of mankind none are in a position to make authoritative decisions with one’s life in the balance (i.e the adjudication of “fair” or “just” judicial process from the judge, prosecutor and court team). Thus, while the massive canon of political philosophy is th e source of great fecundity and thoughtprovoking ideals and theories, it nonetheless is accompanied by great sources of critique, disparate interpretation and lim ited explicit advocacy for any singular theory, such as that of community justice. Building upon the limitations in this pa per in using political philosophy as a key realm of abstract and theoreti cal support of community justi ce, the literature provides an interpretation of the ideals of community ju stice at best, thus re lying on a heavy dose of assumption and extrapolation. In addition to the previous example on Hobbes and the wide array of potential interpretation leadi ng to probable critique, while Bentham was a utilitarian and community justice is built heav ily on utilitarian aspects, his views on the greatest good for society can be widely interp reted as well. Bentham intimated that an ideal, or greatest, good for society in some form does exist. In its simplest interpretation, Bentham would claim that this greatest good is that which maximizes the total or majority of societal pleas ure or good (Bentham, 1843). So me would claim that it is

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38 impossible to aggregate the societal value in to an agreed upon sum (Sandel, 2010). Thus, in order to adjudicate fair and balanced sentences for one defendant may be the opposite for the other. And it is this inconsistenc y and incongruence that leads to the very definition of unfairness and imbalance (Sandel, 2010). Therefore, these limitations and assumpti ons challenge the them e of this project. Nonetheless, given that there ex ists a strong argument to be made or an interpretation to be had regarding these piece of political phi losophy, the reality illuminated that there must be a link strong enough to extrapol ate and expound upon enough to make the case for an undercurrent of community justice concepts woven throughout the tapestry of political philosophy.

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39 CHAPTER IV EMPIRICAL APPLICATION AND ANALYSIS This section examines the first full eval uation of any community court project in the world. The case study to be the primary focus of analysis and application of the community court is the community court proj ect referenced throughout this thesis thus far: the East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC) in the Washington D.C. area. The successes as empirically shown in the ERCCÂ’s final report as compiled, produced and analyzed by Westat Inc., provide strong evidence linking the processes of community court to success in reducing crime and r ecidivism in communities in which it is implemented. Upon determining and establishing the form alized and measureable success of a community court project on a larger scale, th is section then comp ares less-substantial measurements from community courts around the world, all pointing toward the success seen in the paradigmatic ERCC case. This comparison helps to es tablish the effective adjudication processes of community courts in communities both large and small. The communities to be compared to the ERCC are: ManhattanÂ’s Midtown Court (the inaugural community court pr oject), Milliken, Colorado, Sa n Francisco, California, and finally Liverpool, England. Each community c ourt project was selected to compare with the ERCC because they are in disparate co mmunities with varying demographics and crime realities. Therefore, the differences be tween the communities he lp to illuminate the transferability of community court. It is an effective model by which crime and recidivism are reduced ultimately creating safer, more responsive communities regardless of size, types of crimes committed or demographic make-up.

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40 East of the River Community Court Project (ERCC) The analysis from Westat was conducted by breaking down the Washington D.C. catchment areas into two main study sections as a sample. Demographic, crime and case data was gathered from two sections of th e area. These areas were made up of police districts – one with community c ourt (police districts 6 and 7, which is the ERCC project ) and the other without community court (police district 5). This comparative case study examined similar catchment areas to determin e the reality of the affects, if any, that community court was having (Westat, 2012). As referenced in the introduction, trad itional court systems typically outsource cases to a district attorney or prosecutor and are involved in the cases minimally through periodical review pursuing ultimate successful case closure. Often, the judge may not even see the defendant in the case if the at torney is appearing on the behalf of the defendant. This separation between the court and the defendant is precisely the starting place that community court is focused on ad justing. As a theoretical and foundational aspect of community courts, the judge pres ides over all aspects of the proceedings (Center for Court Innovation, n.d. ). The prosecutor or district attorney though, is still a player in the entire process along with th e case manager, court clerk and even the arresting officer. The ERCC is no different than this theore tical function. A single judge presides over all ERCC cases and hears the phases of each case from arraignment to final disposition. In practice, this reality allows for more informed and intentional judicial decision-making (Center for Cour t Innovation, 2013; Westat, 2012).

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41 Data overview. The implementation of community courts globally, whether in Washington D.C. or in any communities, do es not happen in a vacuum. Implementation of community court requires a multiplicity of stakeholders as well as those involved administratively in court establishment. This includes parties from the civil society in partnership with public agenci es and private organizations. Specifically, the Center for Court Innovation, which is a nonprofit community court consultant firm based out of New York City, is an active member in the establishment of each community court throughout the world today. Additionally, gove rnment agencies such as the US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Jus tice Assistance are central players in resource management and funding of and for community court projects in the United States (Center for Court Innovation, 2013 ). However, apart from the formalized organizations crucial to the establishment and efficiency of community court, the court administrators and the ‘court team’ are the practitioners responsible for daily implementation of community court proceedings. It is the intake of defendants, runni ng of the court, and organization of all court documents and sent encing programs that allow community court to actually occur. The practitioners act as the agents moving the community court concept from theory to practice. With the key play ers in the implementation of community court introduced, an evaluative discus sion of the data and trends of community courts can now occur. Therefore in the ERCC, the community c ourt model was formally implemented as a case study in police districts 6 and 7, pertaining to the aforementioned sample area to determine its effects on crime, recidivism a nd community safety at large. This case study compared and evaluated the effects of community court, essentially to determine if it was

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42 worth the expense and shift in judicial ad ministration (Westat, 2012). During the study time period comprised of case processing to fi nal disposition, the average age of ERCC defendants was 35 years old and an overwhelm ing majority of defendants were African American males. Specifically, 96% of de fendants cited into the ERCC were African American and 75% of defendants were male (Westat, 2012). The most common cases to come before the ERCC were misdemeanor drug charges. Additionally, roughly 72% of defendants were had a prior criminal case in the D.C. Superior Court (Westat, 2012). Thus, the need for a new adjudication opti on for the D.C. superior court was quite apparent. From 2007 to 2009, 4,046 defendants were cited into the ERCC. The initial intake numbers for the study time peri od are listed in Table 4.1 below. Table 4.1 – Intake Numbers of the ERCC Project Source: Westat, 2012 Action After Initial Citation Number of Defendants Diversion 847 (21%) Transferred to Treatment Courts 379 (9%) No Diversion (either from opting out or not being offered the option) 2820 (70%) As a point of reference, there is a differe nt between treatment courts and diversion programs as achieved through the ERCC. Divers ion is available to those with minor crimes or offenses in that they are given an offer to make restitution in the community, accept responsibility for behavior, obtain acce ss to treatment and educational services and divert criminal conviction through the fo rmal process of a deferred prosecution agreement or deferred sentence agreement. Dive rsion as introduced at the outset of this

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43 thesis and also noted th roughout, is different from traditional diversion in which the prosecutor takes on the case outside of the court. Diversion in community court in general and specifically in this ERCC project is ach ieved through the court. This is the case because in-court diversion allows the court to effectively pursue increased accountability between the stakeholders in the crime and greater respect and interconnectivity amongst all in the community (Berman & Feinblat t, 2002; Center for Court Innovation, n.d.; Nolan, 2003). Treatment courts are for more serious offenses and address substance abuse issues and more systemic problems in the life of th e defendant that may ha ve contributed to the crime committed (Westat, 2012). “A higher proportion of women participated in treatment court programs: 32%” (Westat, 2012, p. iv). Analysis. Upon completing the full analysis of the ERCC, Westat found that during the entire study time period that the ERCC was increasingly more effective at reducing recidivism, crime and ev en the likelihood of recidivi sm as compared with those in the 5th police district. Most notab ly, those in the ERCC diversion programs had a 60% lower recidivism/reoffending rate with their cases pending and received a nolle diversion disposition, in comparison with those in the 5th police district courts In addition, after a year of having successfully completed a di version program, ERCC defendants had a 42% lower reoffending rate compared again with those in the 5th police district courts. The report also noted that defendants who su ccessfully completed an ERCC diversion program were about half as likely to reoffend when compared to 5th police district defendants (Westat, 2012).

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44 Application. In light of these successful outcomes, the Chief Judge of the D.C. Superior Court has recently implemented th e community court model for misdemeanor charges in police districts 1 through 7 in an e ffort to create a safer community and aid in the rehabilitation of defendants. The evalua tion discussion section noted of the ERCC that “this promising program could…become a model for other communities” (Westat, 2012, ix). Evaluation of the ERCC was vital. If th e final report of the ERCC would have returned results with higher or unchanged results in recidivism and reoffending rates under the community court ju risdiction, then the likeli hood of community courts continuance and legitimization would have b een significantly dimini shed, and could have potentially led to the reversal of several co mmunity courts already implemented sparsely around the world, citing that community court ma y not be as successful as was initially conceptualized. However with the same toke n, the evaluation phase of the policy process proved immensely helpful for the community court form of adjudication in that in light of the results of the ERCC “test case”, that chief judge of the D.C. Superior courts formally implemented the community court model for addressing misdemeanor crimes at a low level in all seven of police district courts in the Washington D.C. area. Therefore, the evaluation phase as represen ted in the case of the ERCC, as well as the entire policy process has broad implicat ions on the implementation of community courts globally. Comparison: Other Community Court Projects While the ERCC final evaluation report by Westat is groundbreaking empirical support for community court projects in light of its thoroughness and full analysis, the

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45 ERCC is not the only community court to show signs of success. Other community court projects across the world have illuminated th eir own brand of succe ss without the benefit of a full statistical analysis of their community court’s out put and subsequent effect on the recidivism and crime numbers. This s ubsection conducts a non-empirical examination of three additional community courts across the United States and one community court oversees in Manchester, England. The U.S. community courts to be examined are Manhattan’s Midtown Community Court, whic h was the first formal community court project in the world, beginni ng in 1993 (Nolan, 2003, p. 2); the small, rural town of Milliken, Colorado and its community cour t; San Francisco, California’s community court project; Liverpool, England’s community court. Midtown. In 1993, the Center for Court Innovation in New York City established the first community court in order to fo cus mainly around so called “quality-of-life” crimes from prostitution to drug offenses (Nolan, 2003, p. 2). The compliance rate for the Midtown community court is the highest in the City at 75% and the court has been hailed by Mayor Bloomberg as a success and effectiv e in dealing with these quality of life crimes (Center for Court Innovation, 2009). Participants on the Midtown Community court have provided hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of work for communityrelated projects and have helped make their city better by giving back and investing in it, while it has invested in them through this community court process (Center for Court Innovation, 2009; Curtis, Ostrom, Rottman & Sviridoff, 2000). The coordination between the varying sectors of the ad ministration and judicial stakeholders to provide quality services to th e defendant to allow the defendant to pursue successful completion of his/her sentence mo re efficiently is a key piece to the

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46 community court and justice process (B erman & Feinblatt, 2002; Nolan, 2003). Interconnectivity and cooperation between these players is an additional nuance further supported by the theoretical framework intr oduced in AristotleÂ’s notion of community and the effects cooperation has on society as we ll as the players involved (Aristotle, 350 B.C.E./1999). Milliken. The success of the Town of MillikenÂ’s community court is examined in a slightly different manner. There has been a limited amount of data collected and analyzed on its court. The data collected and analyzed was compared against the projected or ideal outcomes th e Town wanted to see from their community court. These goals were set up in tandem with the Cent er for Court Innovation and their consultants (Shelley et al., 2011). In order to provide a general overview of the Town of MillikenÂ’s community court and what they wanted to see from it, there are five key goals to realizing community courtÂ’s su ccess as outlined in the 2011 Needs Assessment as well as in the policies and procedures manual. They are, Goal 1: Respond to defendant, victim and community issues in case selecti on through enhanced information gathering; Goal 2: Encompass individualized sentences and dispos itions that address defendantÂ’s underlying behavioral problems and/or restore the har m of the offense to the community; Goal 3: Provide a Mechanism for E ffective Court Supervision and Increase Participant Accountability; Goal 4: Strengthen the connection between the court and the community through problem solving, collaboration and involvement ; Goal 5: Promote Public Safety by Reducing Recidivism and Preventing Crimes (Burack, 2011; Shelley et al., 2011). Based on the limited amount of data by th is young community court, goals three and five and selected operationa l objectives laid out in them that best encapsulate the goal

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47 and its purpose, is examine d. For objectives 3.1, 3.4, 3.5 and 5.1 of goals 3 and 5, see the projected outcomes versus the empi rical outcomes in Table 4.2 below. Table 4.2 – Milliken: Empirical Outcome vs. Projected Outcome Source: Davis & Waggoner, 2012 Projected Outcome Empirical Outcome 6 7 8 90% of participants attend mandatory court reviews or have proof of compliance with a non-appearance court review 96% attended court reviews or showed compliance 80% of the participants completed restorative justice activity 96% completed restorative justice activities in their sentence 75% of the participants completed their sentence successfully 85.7% successfully completed in 2012 with 9 cases pending at the time of data collection 50% of the participants did not recidivate by committing similar crimes within the town catchment area at least one year after completion of case 9.3% of community court participants have recidivated Based on this snapshot of data measur ing actual outcomes versus projected outcomes and associated goals early in th e program, Milliken’s Community Court is already proving successful in light of the positive goal completion and numbers achieved thus far, to say nothing of success stories th at are not empirically driven, but rather 6 Breakdown: 3.1 – 72 of 75 total cases continued with the program. The remaining 3 defendants moved to other towns thus transferring jurisdiction, or entered the foster system and were closed; 3.4 – the same case is true for this objective as with the previous ob jective; 3.5 – 36 successful completions, 6 unsuccessful completions totaling 42 cases in 2012. *Data beyond 2012 is not completed and/or available. Thus the data represented for the Town of Milliken throughout this paper is preliminary data and limited. 7 Note: for those who do not successfully complete the program, the ramifications include revoking community court terms and associated plea deals (i.e. DPA or DSA) and reverting to traditional sentencing as delineated by the Judge during a normally scheduled review, as based on prior discussion amongst community court team. Those whose cases were closed were not factored into the final percentage count. 8 Breakdown: 5.1 – 75 total cases with 7 recidivists (33 in 2011; 42 in 2012). *Data beyond 2012 is not completed and/or available. Thus the data represente d for the Town of Milliken throughout this paper is preliminary data and limited.

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48 intangible nuances of success (e.g. smiles on faces, personal “thank you’s” from successfully completing defendants, increased self-esteem). San Francisco. The community court project in San Francisco, also known as San Francisco’s Collaborative Court, is fart her along in terms of an alysis and evaluation than Milliken’s community court, but not quite to the stage of full analysis and evaluation as that of the ERCC, though they will s oon undergo an evaluation of their community court project to be conducted by the Rand Corporation (San Francisco Collaborative Courts, 2011). Underscoring the uniqueness of each community court and its fecundity illuminated through judicial process tailored to the given community in which it operates, San Francisco’s community court is concentrated mostly on drug issues, while also dealing with homeless-related offenses. Si milar to the ERCC, the San Francisco’s community court project was initially implemented on a trial-basis as to determine if it is effective or not. Since 2007, the court has be en operating fully and is now undergoing the aforementioned rigorous review and evaluati on by the RAND Corporation (Knight, 2007, p. D1). This development over several year s points to the effectiveness of San Francisco’s model of adjudication. Specifically in the article from the San Francisco Chronicle in 2007, San Francisc o’s Mayor, Gavin Newsom, claimed that he was assured this [community court project] “is the right way to go” in spit e of the controversy surrounding its initial formulation given th at it was merely a departure from the traditional yet broken court system (Knight, 2007, p. D1). Therefore with the initial support and recognition from the top political po wers in San Francisco that the traditional court system was not effective enough in reduc ing crime and recidivism in San Francisco

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49 and now that the community court it is still in operation a nd undergoing a rigorous evaluation following in the ERCC fo otsteps, it is fairly safe to claim that San Francisco’s community court appears to be a su ccess (Knight, 2007; Nirappil, 2012). Liverpool. Continuing in the common thread of community court establishments, the Liverpool, England community court is cr eating its own version of judicial process aimed at combining communities and judicial administrators to address and end local low-level crime. Under the guidance of Judge David Flet cher, the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre has been enga ged in “targeting the priorities of a neighbourhood for low level crime, instead of using the one size fits all method…[which] means that communities needs are met and justice is served” (Fletcher, 2004; M2 Communications, 2006). Additionally, the community court is dealing with a variety of low level offenses successfully in that th ey are seeing a recidivism rate of around 10% (Fletcher, 2004). Similar to the ERCC’s expansion of commun ity court to be the primary method of dealing with low-level crime in all police districts, 1 thru 7, the North Liverpool community court has been so successful that the government has extended the similar method of judicial process to around 10 other areas in the United Kingdom. The Effectiveness of Community Cour t in Light of Political Philosophy Therefore, with this snapshot of the effectiveness of a community court as formally implemented in a highly crimina lly populated community, it is clear that community court does bring down the ra tes of reoffending among misdemeanor offenders and thus is, by implication, more e ffective than the trad itional approach to juvenile and low level crime. Its effectivene ss in highly criminally populated areas is not

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50 the only arena in which community court has be en seen to flourish. Based on the previous comparisons of varying types and forms of community court as implemented in diverse locations throughout the world, its effectiveness has remain ed relatively consistent. Therefore, it continues to be clear that comm unity justice is a form of justice not only highly effective in some of the largest, mo st criminally-populated in the country and world, such as Washington D.C, but as well as in small communities such as Milliken, CO. Given the effectiveness of community court in many different communities throughout the world, a political philosophical fr amework is crucial to understanding the efficacy of the theoretical underpinnings of community justice. A move from the theoretical and abstract of philosophy to the practical eff ectiveness of community court illuminates the pervasive nature of these principles embedded within western culture most notably beginning with the classical philosophers of Aristotle and Epicurus. Reverting back to AristotleÂ’s notion that inte rconnectedness within society is inevitable and therefore must be pursued and maximized in order to have the most efficient society is seen within community justice from senten cing options involving a ll stakeholders in a given crime, to the reintegrat ion of the defendant back into society. This principle of inevitable interaction amongs t humans in society is the binding force of community justice. Community court has been shown to be successful as an alternative form of justice in addressing and reducing crime at a low level through the ERCC project examination as well as the other case study overviews. However, there are still few community courts implemented in the worl d today. With the link between community

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51 court and its effectiveness at reducing crime and recidivism in communities, more community courts would mean safer comm unities everywhere and a generally safer world. Therefore, in the following chapter I posit a model for implementing community courts nationwide in the United States. I do this in the form of a fictitious memorandum to President Obama advocating for a national community court system. The justification is simple: with more community courts, there would be less crime and communities across the world would be safer. The implemen tation of such a system is perhaps another story.

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52 CHAPTER V A SAMPLE POLICY MEMORANDUM TO : President Obama FROM : Philip Waggoner, MPA Candidate SUBJECT : National Community Court System Executive Summary Crime is ubiquitous. In light of this re ality, the traditional justice system is doing little to adapt to meet the needs of uni que situations represented in disparate communities. The alternative known as community court is an ideal form of justice aimed at addressing and reducing crime and r ecidivism among misdemeanor and juvenile offenders. In spite of its high level of effec tiveness in bringing dow n recidivism rates in the few communities in which it is impleme nted though, it is not implemented broadly enough to affect the nationwide i ssues of high crime and recidi vism rates. This lack of wide spread implementation of community cour t could be attributed, among other things, to the reluctance to change often seen in the criminal justice and le gal systems. Thus, in order to bring these rates down and pursu e safer more responsive communities throughout the country, a national community c ourt system must be implemented. While there are many avenues through which this national community court system can be implemented, I recommend a combined centrali zed and decentralized approach for the implementation of community court. A centra lized community court agency to oversee the many district community courts across the country allows each district court to pursue a tailored form of adjudication commensura te with its communityÂ’s given needs.

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53 The Current Reality According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the juvenile (persons under 18 years of age) ar rest rates since 2000 through 2010 have been hovering between 2.2 million and 1.6 million ea ch year (Justice Programs, 2010). These are juveniles who could be in school; juve niles who could be looking toward community or four-year colleges; juveniles who may need to provide for families and/or siblings; juveniles who have dreams. These arrest a nd subsequent crime rates are much too high for this vulnerable population. Additionally recidivism rates, according to a 2008 juveni le recidivism study from the Office of Children and Family Servi ces (OCFS), are around 70% among males 24 months after their release and at 43% for females 24 months after their release from incarceration or detention (C hildren and Family Services, 2011). Thus these numbers reflect high crime and recidivism rates am ong a population for whom this should not be the case. These high numbers are a political probl em, a social problem, a domestic policy problem, a fiscal problem and moral problem. While juveniles are most often responsible for their actions, they should not be alienated and thus implicitly encouraged to continue in this life of crime. There is, however, a form of adjudication known as community justice, and more specifically community cour t, which is currently implemented sparsely throughout the world to address such issues relating to juve nile crime and recidivism, illuminating highly positive results in decrea sing these rates among juvenile offenders. Given its success, this new idea of commun ity court is the answer to addressing juvenile crime and recidivism effectively for the good of the offenders, victims and the

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54 communities across the country. However, th e current piecemeal approach to the implementation of community court is simply not enough to address this problem. A broader, national system aimed at reducing juvenile crime and recidivism must be pursued in order to truly make a dent in thes e high rates of arrests and continual offenses of and from juveniles. Criteria In weighing the policy alternatives, th e measurements of effectiveness as measured by rates of crime and recidivism, efficiency as measured by time spent in the criminal justice system and feasibility as examined through economic and political feasibility are specifically discussed. The first criterion used to select th e policy alternative is to examine the effectiveness of community court as is it formally implemented today. This examination occurs through measuring th e recidivism and crime rates of a community court as compared to a non-community court in a sim ilar region. This provides an ideal view of the effectiveness of community court in ad dressing the recidivism and crime rates among juvenile misdemeanor defendants. The effec tiveness criterion provides guidance as to whether or not a community court is wort h the costs and expense – politically and economically (to be discussed below) – of pursuing implementation nationwide. The second criterion to be examined is the efficiency of community court as compared with non-community courts. This is measured through the time the defendant spends in a community court versus a trad itional court. This is accomplished, again, through observing and measuring similar region s with and without community court in

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55 order to determine a rate of effectiv eness for the proposed community court implementation. Efficiency is closely li nked with the previ ous criterion of effectiveness Thirdly, the economic feasibil ity of community court is vital in determining its proposed nationwide implementation. Econom ic feasibility is measured through prosecutor time, court and judge time, case manager time, and the amount of cases in each court coupled with the necessary staff time to ensure the aforementioned goals of effectiveness and efficiency. Political feasibility is the final criterion in discussing the policy alternatives aimed addressing this problem. It is measured through congressional support of the given alternative (through votes, funding, informal and formal support), executive support and help in pursuing the passage of the alternatives to ensure successful implementation of the alternative and additionally judicial s upport from the judges, attorneys and case managers who are responsible for the adj udication of community court. The key to crafting politically feasible policy, though, is the successful ma rketing of it to the public. In light of this reality and also that no po litician wanting to appear soft on crime, the argument must focus on the investment into judicial alternatives now will reduce crime and rates of reoffending in the future, thus reducing costs and lowering crime in the future, thereby creating sustai nably safer communities. Alternatives With the intricacies and nuances of th e problem at hand, there are a variety of possible alternatives aimed at addressing a nd reducing juvenile crime and recidivism rates through community court. There are four proposed alternatives discussed in this section. Specifically they ar e: a centralized national comm unity court system; a mandate

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56 for the establishment of federal district community courts; to continue with traditional courts and do nothing; or a combination of th e first two alternatives through the creation of a central national community court to act as the administ rative wing of the district community courts established under a federal mandate. The first policy option to establish a centralized, national community court in Washington D.C. is an alternative which ta kes the model of the United State Supreme Court, being the single centralized authorit y established to adjudicate all community court eligible cases.9 Any and all community court el igible cases are processed and overseen at this centralized court, thereby nullifying the current community courts seen around the country today. The centralization of the community court alternative provides a national focus on misdemeanor crimes and offens e in an effort to address crime at a low level to aid in the wide-spread reduction of crime and recidivism. The second policy alternativ e is the mandate to establish district federal community courts. This model provides a si milar adjudication process currently seen today through the federal district courts in all American states. However, the current federal district court system does not include or participate in community court-type sentencing options or process, and is theref ore not a community court system. Thus, this option transforms the current federal district court system where juveniles or low-level offenders are traditionally tried in regular court, to federally f unded and run district community courts. 9 Community Court Eligibility is determined based in part on: lack of extensive criminal history, lack of sexual criminal offenses, lack of felony record, and a variety of other stipulations ensuring quality participation from qualified defendants in the program (adapted, in part, from the Town of MillikenÂ’s Community Court Policies and Procedures manual).

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57 The third alternative is to simply do nothing. This option is to continue adjudication of minor and juvenile offende rs through traditional court and sentencing options, thereby allowing the recidivism and crime numbers to remain relatively unchanged. The final alternative is a combination between the first two policy alternatives. This alternative allows for the benefit of a cen tralized federally-run court for juvenile and low-level offenders to have access to a commun ity court at a local level (federal districts as are currently seen today w ith traditional court) than that of a single, centralized community court only in Wa shington D.C. Additionally, the centralized governance structure of the district community cour ts around the country is achieved through administration and top-to-bottom federal jurisd ictional processes. Again, this alternative provides the benefit of central ity and oversight from Washington D.C. yet with the local access and resources tailored to different comm unities through the district federal courts. Projected Outcomes & Tradeoffs Based on independent and growing resear ch, evaluations and analyses showing the effectiveness and success of community courts as they are formally implemented today, it is projected that a national commun ity court program for low-level and juvenile offenders reduces both crime and recidivism throughout the country on a broad scale. This aids in creating safer communities. For example, in the East of the River Community Court project (ERCC) evaluation, participants in the program had a 60% lower recidivism rate while their cases were pending and a 42% lower recidivism rate upon a year of their case completion, as comp ared with defendants not in a community court but a similar region (Westat, 2012).

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58 However, as is the case with many policie s and alternatives to traditional policies, there are tradeoffs associated with community court. The clea rest tradeoff, to be further discussed in the following section, is that of financial feasibility. The move from traditional court to community court requires significant infrastructure shifts both administratively and judicially. Thus, the tradeoff would be higher crime rates for initially comparatively lower co sts or initially higher comparative costs for lower crime and recidivism rates and ultimately safer communities. An additional tradeoff is that of time in the realm of training and re-training current court employees (primarily administrativ ely). Shifting from one policy or form to another requires time to adap t and includes varying degrees of learning curves for those judicial practitioners charged with community courts implementation. This learning curve and time spent training in new and adaptive j udicial and administrative processes is a relatively significant tradeoff compared with that of doing nothing and remaining on the current, traditional trajectory. Similar to the previous financial tradeoff, it is either higher crime and no learning curve/time spent training or lower crime and acceptance of lost time training/retraining and the administrative co sts associated with this new trajectory of executing justice. Recommendation & Discussion President Obama, my recommendation for you is to pursue alternative three. We can no longer sit and do nothing forcing munici palities to piece meal a solution with sparse community court implementation around the country. At the same time, we do not need to hold so much control over the adjudi cation of minor and juvenile offenders as to force all low-level crimes through a singular Washington, judicial bo ttle neck. Thus in

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59 light of the administrative a nd judicial hurdles facing our countryÂ’s criminal justice system as well as the high levels of crime and recidivism, it is time for action through implementation of community court nationally. We need to be the leaders on this front and to implement a centralized community court system, with lower level, federal district courts set up to only handle these issues, ther eby front-loading the criminal justice system to avoid more and increased crime in the futu re. The pace currently is too slow given its proven effectiveness. It is time to implement this on a broad scale. Based on the aforementioned evaluation of the ERCC as well as numerous popular and academic journal articles illuminating community courtÂ’s success as implemented on a community-by-community basi s, it is estimated that implementing community court brings down rates of re offending among misdemeanor and juvenile offenders. This causes communities to be safer across the country. In regard to economic feasibility, the short answer is it would initially cost more than doing nothing. However, the means by which the alternativ e is economically covered is through rechanneling funds currently being funnele d to traditional juvenile court programs, which have historically b een less effective, to community court programs. This is in lock-ste p with the broader move toward the eventual transitioning of all traditional courts to community courts. Pursuing community court includes carrying out and monitoring sentences for juveniles thro ugh the court, rather than outside of the court. This is currently how the traditional court system functions: juveniles are essentially outsourced to prosecu tors or district attorneys to complete their sentences set by the court. Community court achieves se ntencing through the court under the guidance of the judge as well as the case managers thereby increasing accountability and reducing

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60 the funds spent on additional legal expenses. Case managers are much more affordable than lawyers. Additionally, the increase in program costs could come from state justice expenses a categorical mandate. By front lo ading the criminal justice system with increased funds now to decrease future crim e and also create invested citizens out of offenders rather than giving them blanket se ntences, and then sending them out to do the same thing again, we are stopping this revolvi ng door of recidivism. Thus the defendants, when more invested members of the communit y, gains skills as a result of sentences and give back to the community through not only committing less crimes (saving money and creating safer communities) but also by work ing in and for the good of the community, rather than a life of crime, whic h hurts everyone in the long term. The political feasibility also creates hu rdles initially, compared with taking no action to increase the effectiveness and effi ciency of our criminal justice and court system. The clearest political hurdle is convi ncing both legislators as well as the general public that a change is in fact needed; especi ally change that come s with a price tag. An avenue to overcome this hurdle is to espous e community court, not as a financial or political obligation weighing people down, but ra ther a fresh alternative increasing public safety, through techniques proven to reduce crime and recidivism while simultaneously creating more responsive, invested citizens out of defendants who give back to their communities. Investment in defendants encourages them to actively engage in their community rather than staying in a life of crime thereby costing the community more money in the long run. Again, though, it would not be an easy ro ad. It would require serious political capital to achieve a greater good for all comm unity members. The key is to constantly

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61 keep the focus off of the money and the partis an politics that would inevitably arise, and focus on the public safety, by getting police o fficers and judges on board. This aides not only in pursuing the implementation of this pol icy alternative, but by also in fostering cooperation between sectors of the criminal ju stice system, as well as getting both sides of the aisle on board. Opposing public safety and public service provider cooperation would not play politically well in most, if not all, districts throughout the country. Memo Appendix 1: Implementation Strategy The first step in implementing a national community court system is setting up the office as a sub-cabinet agency within the Depa rtment of Justice. It is the Division of Community Court (hereafter DCC ). The DCC acts as centralized community court administration and resource support for the di strict courts around the country. This provides the necessary oversight at the federal level to allow the local or districts to have the utmost freedom in the administration of their courts. Upon creation of the DCC, the statistical wing of the Department of Justice, which is the Bureau of Justice Statistics, will contract with Westat Inc. (the statistical analysis firm who provided the first holistic community court evaluation and analysis for the ERCC). This contractual relationship w ould provide the funding to conduct a crime rate study for types of crimes in districts with current federal district courts. Preevaluation data provide the necessary statis tical starting place to determine the funding brackets of each district court. Thus, f unding amounts for each community court are based on types and rate of crimes committed. For example, the districts with high rates of crime receive more funding in order to appropr iately and efficiently address the crime in their given district.

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62 Apart from funding, a crucial step in the implementation of the national community court system is the crafting of general operating procedures or bylaws under which each district community court opera tes. Bylaws and operating procedures developed through the DCC allows for standa rdized implementation from district to district. However, each district and state is uniquely outfi tted with varying types of crime potentially foreign to another district. Also the levels and severity of the crimes can fluctuate, making a standardized formula fo r the implementation of community courts across the board difficult. Thus, the centerpiece of the bylaws for all community courts is the subsection allowing each district court to have greater license in determining administrative and sentencing procedures that work for them and fit their location and needs. For example, districts with high rates of harassment charges require a community court focused more on that as reflected thr ough sentencing options tailored to those with harassment issues. Likewise, districts with high prostitu tion rates require sentencing options for defendants caught using or engaging in prostitution. And districts with higher truancy rates, but less harassment and pros titution rates need the freedom to craft sentencing options focused in and around the sc hools to increase both school attendance as well as in-school performance Finally, the implementation of a national community court system is a large, bureaucratically arduous process. Thus, to ease this inevitable burden, transition teams established through the Division of Community Court, Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Center for Court Innovation travel around the country and aide in the move from traditional court to community court. Th ese teams provide necessary training and retraining of current court administrators. Additional transition teams include those made

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63 up of judges currently engage d in community courts who coach other judges in the processes of the new form of adjudicati on. This piece is crucial given that a key difference between traditional court and commun ity court is that all cases are monitored and tracked through the court under the judge’s superv ision and oversight rather than outside of the court where the case is outsourced to a prosecu tor or district attorney. Memo Appendix 1: Implementa tion Strategy (continued) Table 5.1 – Implementation Strategy Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Community Court (DCC) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court District Community Court Center for Court Innovation (CCI) CNA Research Westat Inc.

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64 Memo Appendix 2: Evaluation Strategy The evaluation phase of the implemen tation of the national community court system is the bedrock of ensu ring the long-term sustainability of the project. In order to justify its continued existence, its effectiv eness in reducing crime and recidivism rates must be proven. The evaluation begins by c onsidering crime and recidivism rates preand post-evaluation. This provides a foundation ag ainst which the actual outcomes of the program can be measured, in order to dete rmine immediate successes and failures of the program as implemented nationwide. Second, the employee satisfaction rates among those administering the courts are vital to determining the success of the program from an internal perspective. Also, this measuremen t allows for a meaningf ul starting place to determine what changes in administration need to occur or be tweaked, ensuring efficiency and the utmost effectiveness. Th irdly, the evaluation of funding mechanisms and strategies is integral in determining the long-term financial sustainability of the national community court system. Finally th e long-term effects on costs, crime and recidivism rates are the culmination of the ev aluation process. This would be considered and conducted several years after the program has been formally implemented to allow for time to work out kinks and then to determine the success of the program both economically as well as procedurally in mee ting the goal of reduced crime and recidivism rates among misdemeanor and juvenile offenders. The pre-evaluation phase occu rs first, prior to community courts formalized implementation. As previously noted, this provides a foundation ag ainst which actual program data can be measured. This is in an effort to determine effectiveness. Effectiveness of the program as it is imp lemented will take place during the programs

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65 first several years. The second evaluati on phase provides an early look at the effectiveness or shortcomings of the nationa l community court progra m. Finally, the third phase of evaluation will take place several years after the program has been implemented. This final phase of evaluation provides a l ong-term, substantial look at the outcomes of community court, both internally amongst ad ministration and externally in examination of the data on crime and recidivism rates. As referenced in the previous flowch art, the evaluation will be accomplished through a combination of public and private organizations. The primary organization will be Westat Inc., given their familiarity with community court as represented in their final report and evaluation on the ERCC project in Washington D.C. Additionally, the research group CNA will be utilized in data compilati on and analysis given their long-standing record of government data and statistical an alyses of programs in disparate agencies and organizations including the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, Department of Homeland Security and th e White House. The Bureau of Justice Assistance will be a central player in the ev aluation process given their relationship with community courts currently implemente d around the country through funding and resource support. The Center for Court I nnovation is the company who first established community courts in society. Thus, they will be central actors in the implementation and evaluation of the national community court system, given their knowledge of community courts around the world. Finally, the Depart ment of Justice will be involved in an oversight capacity due to the aforementioned structure of it being the central location for the administration and resources of the national community court system.

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66 CHAPTER VI CONCLUSION Problem solving courts in general and comm unity courts specifi cally are the keys to addressing and stopping crime at a low level in order to pursue not only reduced crime and recidivism rates in the short term, but to ultimately reduce the eminence of more serious crimes in the long term, often as a re sult of alienation of the offender early on in the criminal justice system. Therefore, the problem solving courts seek to invest in the offender, victim and community simultaneousl y in order to promote community cohesion and investment across the board betw een all stakeholder sin the crime. When the entire idea of problem solving c ourts is examined through a theoretical jurisprudential lens of restorative justice a nd therapeutic jurisprudence theory and then through the lens of policy implications linke d to the implementation and ultimate long term success of implementation of these courts it is clear that the problem and proposed solutions are not easy and require substantial work. This work is seen through the roughly 37 community courts currently implemented in throughout the world. The ultimate goal, however, is to pursue the widespread implem entation of community and problem solving courts, in order to increase and strength public safety and allow for tightly-knit communities to flourish through in vestment in one another. Community Court is Effective at Reducing Recidivism Based on the findings, it is clear that im plemented community courts in both small and large communities are successful at reducing crime and recidivism, as seen through the evaluation of each cas e study. It is these analyses, specifically the ERCC, that have led to the encouragement of other co mmunity courts to follow suit in pursuing

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67 formal evaluations to empirically prove the successes they are seeing in their communities every day. For example, the San Fr ancisco community court project is next in line through a current evaluation of thei r community court project conducted by the Rand Corporation (San Francisco Collabora tive Courts, 2011). Also, in the United Kingdom, there is a network of community courts currently producing positive results illuminating the effectiveness of the courts th ere in reducing crime and recidivism, with plans to expand (Fletcher, 2004). Therefore, in communities large or small, domestic or foreign, with wide variations of crimes committed and demographics represented, community court is effective. Community court is effective because the sentencing is focused on the defendant, the victim and the community. Th is collaboration makes community court an immensely effectively model of executing justice. In the words of Judge Fletcher of the Liverpool Community Justice Centre when asked about the status of the program, he stat ed that, “We’re the onl y court in the country that has an inter-agency problem-solving team…Things are going extremely well. The work we’ve been doing is exciting and intere sting. We’ve been working hard to forge links to the community and develop this pr oject” (Fletcher, 2004, p. 1). The community court system is now spread across the UK in several municipalities and no longer contained in Liverpool Community justice is spreadi ng; the process and subsequent establishment globally though is too slow. An Intersection Worth E xamining: Political Philosophy and Criminal Justice Our philosophical forefathers were espousing the precepts of community justice in various forms from the outset of ancient philosophy implicitly to current threads of

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68 political philosophy in, at times, explicit a dvocacy. Aristotle claimed that humans are interconnected in society and thus must work together for the greater good of society at large. Each person has his or her respective ro le and that role cannot be separated from the essence humanity. We mu st pursue virtuous lives and actions, therefore, through interconnectivity and cooperation. Jeremy Be ntham argued that punishment is only permissible in society as long as it is to prevent some greater offense and if it leads to the maximum happiness and utility. The utility of a community is based upon the appropriateness of the sentence. And the sent ence must fit the crime, and ultimately fitting the crime requires taking external factors into consideration in order to most adequately serve justice for the defendant as well as for the entire community. Finally, John Rawls stated that in order to make the justice system equitable and fair, the same opportunities and access to a more personalized form of justice must be made available to all in society. Thus by pursuing the implement ation of community justice, we are merely acting on the ideals set forth long before community justiceÂ’ s formalized inception. Being responsive to the rich, revered tradit ion of political philosophy through the implementation of community justice, is not only an effective way for executing justice, but an obligation that research ers, criminologists and those with influence have to all communities as well as fellow colleagues. Cooperation and the Future of Sustainable Judicial Reform However, this is no small task: the notion of reorienting the criminal justice field and fostering cooperation among all sectors of this field. There is a problem in the criminal justice system with intercommuni cation and cooperation as well as drawn-out bureaucratic red tape and the revolving door of recidivists (Nolan, 2003). In short, there

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69 is a lot to repair. The starting place and keys not only to reduce recidivism and crime, but also to create safer, more responsive communitie s, are that we in the criminal justice field must work together to remove the institutional walls and increase our communication with one another in order to work together for the good of our communities and citizens.

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